Shehriyar Antia, Vice President, Head of Thematic Research at PGIM, walks us through their recently published Megatrends Report. How do institutional investors understand climate change risk repricing? How do fixed income investors deal with available data that is estimated rather than reported? How can equity investors turn climate risk into opportunity? Join us for an in-depth discussion of the ways climate change is affecting the investment landscape.
Seeds is an exciting new Technology platform that financial advisors can use with clients to help them align their values with their investments. Zach Conway, Founder and CEO of Seeds and Managing Director of Conway Wealth talks about how Seeds works and how it developed through his firm’s focus on balancing life and money. He launched Seeds with a $5B RIA, and has recently partnered with Just Capital and Alliance Bernstein. We talk about how the interest in ESG investing from financial advisors has reached an inflection point, and new technologies are needed to facilitate client engagement.
Preeti Sinha, Executive Secretary at United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), talks about their newest innovative programs, like the UNCDF 500. This initiative will support 500 companies in the LDCs (Least Developed Countries), focusing on women’s economic development, climate change, and biodiversity. And their newly launched partnership with 100 Women in Finance, which has 20,000 members worldwide, will support women leaders in African economies as well as mentor young women to become future leaders.
We discuss how these and other UNCDF initiatives in collaboration with official lenders make long-term sustainable finance available to developing countries by extending maturities on lending programs.
William Burckart, President at The Investment Integration Project (TIIP), talks about 21st Century Investing: Redirecting Financial Strategies to Drive System Change, the new book he co-authored with Steve Lydenberg, one of the pioneers of sustainable investing. Burckart explains that the nature of risks threatening today’s investor portfolios are fundamentally destabilizing. These challenges are new and encompass social and environmental issues that are systemic and threaten long-term investment returns across all asset classes in ways that traditional risk management cannot cope with. We talk about how system-level investing responds to these challenges.
See the Attachments tab for details on research and publications mentioned in the podcast conversation.
Enviva is the largest supplier of sustainable wood biomass in the world. Jens Wolf, Vice President and General Manager at Enviva Europe, explains how the U.S. has a promising opportunity to provide low-carbon renewable energy and heat solutions to enable the transition to a net zero economy, as targeted by the E.U. and U.K. Today, bioenergy is the largest renewable energy source in the E.U., with the U.S. having the potential to meet 65% of the sustainable wood pellet demand, representing an approximate trade value of $1.6B. The low-carbon profile of sustainable wood biomass allows energy and heat producers to reduce their carbon emissions footprint by more than 85% on a lifecycle basis (compared to coal) creating an opportunity for investors and policymakers to transition to a green economy.
The clean water challenge: Only 3 percent of water on earth is fresh and potable for healthy human consumption, and 70% of this is used for agricultural production. Paul talks to John Simon about how Total Impact Capital is using blended finance to fund social enterprises with expertise in achieving several of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals, including #6: Clean Water and Sanitation for all by 2030. For example, investors funded water delivery franchises in East Africa and supported water cooperatives in Central America to deliver cost effective, full-time access to clean water.
Listen to three of the co-authors of Values at Work: Sustainable Investing and ESG Reporting, a book recently published by the Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance that is galvanizing the conversation about ESG reporting in the investment world. Paul and his guests, Dan Esty, Christina Alfonso-Ercan, and Todd Bridges, talk about the challenges and opportunities of the current ESG reporting frameworks and what we can do related to policy integration and risk analysis at the company level.
Ardian, a global PE firm with European roots, manages US$110BN. Since Ardian started their ESG platform, they have completed 130 ESG roadmaps for companies in their portfolio, using their Sustainable Buyout Investment approach. Candice Brenet, Managing Director and Head of Sustainability and Digital Transformation talks about how their process has reduced both emissions and employee absenteeism by 50% at one of London’s major airports.
Hughes discusses their process for ESG integration, which includes Schroders Sustainability Accreditation, enabling clients to distinguish how ESG factors are considered across the firm’s products. The second phase of their process will include impactIQ, a platform encompassing the firm’s proprietary tools. impactIQ will enable Schroders to identify companies that build businesses that can adapt to social and environmental pressures in order to reduce risks and increase returns.
Ringger brings 25 years of experience as a pioneer in sustainable finance to his new company, Globalance. The company is designed to be an interactive platform for investors to assess current portfolios against other models and indexes. Ringger talks about how investors can use the Globalance Footprint, an analytic tool that provides economic, social, and environmental impact information about investments in the 6,000 companies that Globalance covers. The Globalance World Portfolio is another tool that allows investors to compare the climate impact of their portfolios against industry standard investment indexes like the S&P 500.
Lutz describes the new US Diversity Index, the first of its kind for US companies and directors that includes ethnicity along with gender. We also discuss the launch of the Governance QualityScore (GQS) Index family, designed to help investors identify large and mid-cap companies with strong board structure and shareholder rights as well as those aligned with UN Global Compact principles. In addition, we talk about ISS ESG’s role working with institutional investors to explore climate-related risks through a suite of possible solutions.
Open the Attachments tab to read Lutz's recent article at ISS ESG: Conversations on Climate.
Ellis, together with Nikolay Djibankov, leads the Matterhorn Group at William Blair, a full-service wealth advisory group developing and executing sophisticated financial and philanthropic plans for individuals, businesses, and nonprofit institutions. Ellis and I talk about their two portfolios: The Gender Parity Strategy and the The Matterhorn/Refinitiv Diversity & Inclusion Strategy. Ellis explains how the companies they own incorporate a diversity and inclusion social contract into stakeholder engagement. According to Ellis these companies will be the winners in performance and customer loyalty and attract a high quality workforce. Ellis also belongs to the Thirty Percent Coalition and working groups at Intentional Endowment Network, and US SIF to advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
As the key developer of the sustainable investing framework for Aegon Asset Management, Rich focuses on how to invest alongside sustainable megatrends in fixed income. We talk about the huge issuance of labeled bonds ($444B in 2020): green bonds, social bonds, and sustainable bonds. Rich shares a practical approach to identifying sustainable megatrends and opportunities across the fixed income spectrum. We also discuss how sustainability can help identify opportunities to uncover upside return potential and avoid downside risk by investing in companies that are sustainable leaders and improvers.
Visit the Attachments tab for a Bio and Profile on James Rich, as well as the 2020 Aegon Sustainable Fixed Income, Sustainability Report.
After eight years doing development work in the public sector as a U.S. Federal Government Boren Scholar, and four years in the private banking industry focused on ESG and SRI, Williams has recently launched ImpactVest, dedicated to private equity impact strategies that use the GIIN (Global Impact Investing Network) tenets. Williams shares the startling statistic that only 4% of impact funds are currently invested in Africa. We talk about the lack of private capital allocation to impact strategies in both developed and developing economies, particularly regarding gender equality, climate risk, and access to financial services.
Jake Moeller, Senior Investment Consultant at Square Mile, talks about the dramatic increase in assets under management going into sustainable and responsible investment strategies globally since 2016, with 30%+ AUM in both the U.S. and Europe incorporating ESG analysis. Moeller and I discuss how Europe continues to be 5+ years ahead of the U.S. in enacting regulatory policies related to greenhouse gas reductions and achieving net zero carbon emissions. He explains how these policies are influencing corporate business models and the cost of capital today.
According to Essayas, the Covid-19 pandemic and the growing number of storms, fires, and other environmental disasters have affected every aspect of ESG analytics across all sectors of the economy. What will this mean over the next few years? Join us for this discussion as Essays explains that ESG metrics will be more dynamic, with more collaboration across data and analytics platforms leading to more standardized ESG methodologies.
Four Twenty Seven promotes climate adaptation and resilient investment through the integration of climate science into business and policy decisions, particularly their climate risk scores for listed securities, risk assessments for real estate, and intelligence services for scenario analysis. In our conversation Mazzacurati also talks about the increasing number of carbon neutrality declarations from corporate and government sectors. For example, she walks us through how corporations in the manufacturing sector are applying scenario analysis to opportunities for breakthrough technologies, and how China and the EU can do the same for credit rating risk.
Mazzacurati was named among the Top 100 People in Finance for 2019. Her full bio is included in the Attachments tab of this program.
After many years in the asset management industry, Kirshman launched Impact Metropolis as a social network and video hosting site dedicated to the sustainable and impact investing community. According to Kirshman, as sustainable investing becomes more mainstream, collaboration and sharing of information is being impacted. Kirshman describes how Impact Metropolis is both aggregating resources across the sector and providing a platform where individuals and businesses, both new to impact investing and seasoned professionals, can network, promote their services, and connect with others in the field.
Turnkey Group is a global company focusing on high growth markets in Asia. Wines started the company in 2016 to provide a risk and sustainability platform for company strategy. We talked about enhancements to Turnkey’s Sustain-Tech software suite, particularly setting KPIs that include corporate security, regulatory changes, more transparent supply chains, and managing employee health and safety. The enhancements also enable live collaborations between teams in the field and company management.
You can link to Turnkey's website from the Attachments tab of this podcast program.
Pina walks us through the cutting edge technology that converts food waste into industrial grade organic fertilizer for soil-less and vertical farms. The technology is carbon negative and has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6-12,000 metric tons CO2e per year while increasing produce yields by 20% to 30%. The implications for urban agriculture are extraordinary, and offer an exciting growth opportunity for sustainable finance professionals.
Check out her website for more information.
Marsh & McClennan, the world's leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people, offers sustainable finance capabilities across all four businesses (Marsh, Mercer, Oliver Wyman and Guy Carpenter). In our podcast, Bernhardt talks about how the sustainable finance revolution is impacting asset valuations related to physical and transition climate risk as well as workplace social issues like systemic racism. An important topic given that ESG concerns impact more than $80 trillion in global assets under management.
Alex Bernhardt can be reached at Alex.Bernhardt@oliverwyman.com.
Earth Equity Advisors, a 4-time Best for the World B Corp., specializes in fossil fuel free investment strategies for clients. Krull discusses his methodology, a balanced portfolio strategy focused on lowering risk while continuing to be invested in companies that have long-term growth opportunities in the next economy. Earth Equity Advisors has also recently launched a robo advisory platform for people just starting their investment experience.
See the Attachments tab for information about Earth Equity Advisors SMA and Fossil Fuel Free investment portfolios.
Whether you’re a regular meditator or new to the practice, this podcast will help you understand why thousands of finance professionals and people from all walks of life are incorporating meditation into their daily routines. Class and Lewis have been teaching meditation classes together for years--now online because of Covid-19. Class, in addition to teaching at Yale, is a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Holistic Health at The Center for Functional Medicine in Stamford, CT. She walks us through some of the fascinating science and explains how meditation triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the brain that calms us down when we’re stressed out. And Lewis, who consults with clinics and is in private practice in New York City, explains how meditation is a natural process we can do anytime, any place. And, remarkably, as he demonstrates, we only need a minute to start feeling better!
For more information check out The Center for Functional Medicine
In investment management, performance during a crisis is a way to highlight a fund’s strength or weakness. Indeed, proving that your fund performed better than the market over a long period can drive AUM growth. In the current crisis, 66% of sustainable funds have performed better than their category average, according to Morningstar Direct data. But, our current challenges aren't over. So, while the resilience of ESG has been documented, can it continue to weather even the biggest of storms?
Join Paul as he interviews sustainable finance experts from top companies and global organizations like Trucost, United Nations Capital Development Fund, FTSE Russell, and Allianz Global Investors.
Listen to thought leaders like Amit Bouri, CEO at the Global Impact Investing Network; Mona Naqvi, Head of ESG Product Strategy, North America at S&P Dow Jones Indices; Peter Schechter, Co-Founder at Immigrant Food; and Rachel Gutter, President at International Well Building Institute.
Paul regularly consults with RIAs on ESG marketing and advisor education. He has written for Investments and Wealth Monitor, and co-convened the 2018 and 2019 Sustainable Investing Conferences at the United Nations.