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Conference

Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance Symposium 2019: State of ESG Investing

Tree on a hill at sunset

State of Play in ESG Investing

Friday, November 8, 2019
Yale School of Management, Evans Hall
165 Whitney Ave, New Haven, CT

Note: Registration is closed. Please reach out to YISF@yale.edu for information about this event.

8:30 – 9:00          Breakfast and Coffee

1st Floor Student Commons

9:00 – 9:15           Welcome                                                                                  

Zhang Auditorium, 1st Floor

Todd Cort, Faculty Co-Director, Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance

9:15 – 10:30          Breakout Sessions

Panel Discussion: Risk and ESG Disclosure                                                      
Classroom 4400

  • Moderator: Dan Rourke, Calvert Investments
  • Gianfranco Gianfrate, EDHEC Business School – Does Climate Change Affect Corporate Credit Risk?
  • Todd Cort, Yale School of Management – From ESG to GES: The Importance of Management Controls in Understanding Environmental and Social Risks
  • Hana Vizcarra, Harvard University – The Reasonable Investor and Climate-Related Information

Panel Discussion: Portfolio-Level ESG Assessment                                          
Classroom 4410

  • Moderator: Peter Kellner, Richmond Global
  • Todd Bridges, State Street Global Advisors – Avoiding the Tragedy of the Horizon: Portfolio Design for Climate-Related Risk Management and the Low-Carbon Energy Transition
  • Valerie Grant, AllianceBernstein – The Mosaic Theory is More Relevant than Ever in Responsible Investing: ESG Disclosures Are Not a Substitute for Judgement

10:30 - 11:00        Coffee Break                                                                                

4th Floor South Concourse

11:00 – 12:15         Breakout Sessions                                                               

Panel Discussion: ESG and Private Equity
Classroom 4400

  • Moderator: Deborah Spalding, Commonfund Asset Management
  • Anthony Gordon, AVAIO Capital
  • Ricardo Diaz, Cubico Sustainable Investments – The Importance of Long-Term Perspective in Private Investment in Renewable Energy Assets
  • Cary Krosinsky, Brown University – Financing Change: How to Mobilize Private Sector Capital for Financing Sustainable Infrastructure

Panel Discussion: Rethinking ESG Disclosure
Classroom 4410

  • Moderator: Edward Farrington, Natixis Investment Managers
  • Alexandra Cart, Madeira Global

  • Dan Esty, Yale University – Creating Investment-Grade Corporate Sustainability Metrics
  • Diane Strauss, Yale University – Corporate Sustainability Commitments – How Reliable Are They?

12:15 – 1:00         Lunch                                                                                              

4th Floor South Concourse

1:00 – 1:45         Plenary

Brian Deese, Managing Director, Global Head of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock    
Zhang Auditorium, 1st Floor

  • Moderator: Dan Esty, Yale University
  • Brian Deese, Managing Director, is Global Head of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock. The Sustainable Investing team is focused on identifying drivers of long-term returns associated with environmental, social and governance issues, integrating them throughout Blackrock's investment processes, and creating solutions for clients to achieve sustainable investment return. Previously, Brian worked in the White House under President Obama where he was the President's senior advisor for climate and energy policy, helping to negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement and other national and international initiatives. Early on in the Obama Administration, Brian was one of the key architects in the resurgence of the auto industry after the financial crisis. Brian also served as deputy director of the National Economic Council and deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Most recently, he has been providing advice to institutions interested in sustainable investing strategies and lecturing at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Brian earned a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. from Middlebury College.

2:00 – 3:00         Breakout Sessions 

Panel Discussion: Climate Risk and ESG Investing
Classroom 4400

  • Moderator: Brian Reilly, Barclays
  • Natalie Ambrosio, Four Twenty Seven – The Case for Asset-Level Physical Climate Risk Disclosure
  • Paul Griffin, University of California, Davis – Extreme Heat and Equity Market Physical Climate Risk
  • Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, World Resources Institute – Climate Risks and Stock Returns

3:00 – 3:30         Coffee Break                                                                                       

4th Floor South Concourse

3:30 – 4:15          Plenary Panel Discussion: Asset Owner Perspectives                 

Classroom 4400

  • Moderator: Lars Lindblom, AP2
  • Andrew Collins, San Francisco Employees' Retirement System
  • Deborah Spalding, Former Connecticut Pension Fund
  • George Wong, New York State Common Retirement Fund

4:15 – 4:30          Wrap-up and Close

Classroom 4400

Note: Agenda is in progress and subject to change

 


SPEAKER BIOS

Risk and ESG Disclosures

Dan Rourke is a vice president and ESG senior research analyst for Calvert Research and Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eaton Vance Management that specializes in responsible and sustainable investing across global capital markets. He is responsible for environmental, social and governance (ESG) research coverage of real estate, insurance, and media companies. He began his career in the investment management industry with Calvert Research and Management in 2018. Before joining Calvert Research and Management, Daniel was a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Agriculture focused on multiple issues including infrastructure finance, economic development and impact analysis. Previously, he was a senior advisor to the director of the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and a policy advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Prior to his government service, Daniel worked in private equity, managing real estate investments and developments for Cafritz Company, The Carlyle Group and The Archon Group, a Goldman Sachs company.

Gianfranco Gianfrate is Associate Professor of Finance at EDHEC Business School (France), Member of Erasmus University’s Platform for Sustainable Value Creation (Netherlands), and a Fellow of the Long-Term Investment Initiative of Collegio Carlo Alberto (Italy). He writes and researches on topics related to sustainability, carbon finance, and the integration of environmental footprint metrics in assets valuation. Prior to joining EDHEC Business School, he held teaching and research positions at Erasmus University (Netherlands), Harvard University (USA), and Bocconi University (Italy). Gianfranco has extensive experience in the financial industry, having worked, among others, for Deloitte Corporate Finance (Italy) and iStarter (UK). He has also been head of the Continental Europe Responsible Ownership team of Hermes Investment Management (UK), and served as member of the Investment Committee at Eumedion (the Association of Dutch Institutional Investors), member of the Corporate Governance Committee at Assogestioni (the Association of Italian Institutional Investors), and member of the Fixed Income Working Group of the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Investment. Gianfranco holds a BA and a PhD in Business Administration from Bocconi University and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Todd Cort works at the intersection of corporate responsibility and sustainable finance. His objective is to reduce the barriers to moving capital (either corporate or investor) to more sustainable investments. In this space, Dr. Cort is working on:

1)  Metrics and standards for measuring the environmental impacts of fixed income investment products such as green bonds

2)  Metrics and the underlying data for environmental, social and governance (ESG) that demonstrably drive corporate growth and improvement in equity value

3)  Metrics for underwriting more sustainable insurance products – particularly around the means to measure effective climate adaptation

In addition to these specific research areas, Dr. Cort educates and collaborates with investors and fund managers to effectively integrate sustainability into investment strategies. These integrated investment strategies range from fixed income focused funds to venture capital strategies.

Hana V. Vizcarra is Staff Attorney at Harvard Law School’s Environmental & Energy Law Program where she leads EELP’s portfolio on private sector approaches to climate and environmental issues. Her current research includes analyzing legal questions around the integration of climate-related information into corporate disclosures. Before joining Harvard’s EELP in June 2018, Hana practiced environmental law for over seven years at two national law firms where she represented clients in complex environmental litigation, counseled on environmental compliance and regulation, and advised on environmental aspects of transactions. Before becoming an attorney,
Hana spent seven years working in political research and communications. Hana received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and B.A. from Pomona College in California.

 

Portfolio-Level ESG Assessment

Peter Kellner is Chairman & CEO of Richmond Global Compass, a discretionary values-driven global macro fund that integrates sustainability practices into meticulous traditional research. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by assessing investment and trading opportunities across global asset classes and allocating capital to strategies believed to offer the most attractive risk-adjusted returns. RGC focuses on identifying investment themes based on a top down assessment of macroeconomic events via fundamental, quantitative, industry, economic, community, asset class and securities analyses. The firm leverages proprietary technology with an emphasis on data science to identify material metrics related to sustainability. That analysis then feeds into a bottoms-up assessment of intrinsic risks of companies and/or countries. After university, as a Fulbright Scholar to Hungary, he founded the Environmental Management & Law Association (EMLA), one of Central Europe’s most influential NGOs in environmental policy to this day and originally backed by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. In 1996, he co-founded Endeavor Global, a leading economic development organization. Mr. Kellner is a Trustee of the Allen-Stevenson School in New York and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a Crown Fellow at The Aspen Institute and Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, J.D. from Yale Law School, and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He lectured in Princeton’s Engineering Department on entrepreneurship for 13 years and provided the funding to create the University’s E-Lab for student entrepreneurship.

Todd Arthur Bridges, Ph.D., Head of ESG Research and Strategy Development at State Street Global Advisors is on the Global Equity Beta Solutions Team. The Global Equity Beta Solutions research team is responsible for research across index equities, smart beta, ESG, and climate. The team leads the thought-leadership efforts in these areas through white papers and strategy research development. Dr. Bridges holds MA and Ph.D. degrees from Brown University, and has completed research fellowships at the National Science Foundation, Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, Oxford University, and Harvard University. He has published research and presented findings to central banks, sovereign wealth funds, state pensions, corporate pensions, and scientists in the United States, United Kingdom, EMEA, Russia, and APAC.

Valerie Grant is a Senior Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager in the Equities Department at Alliance Bernstein, where she co-manages Responsible US Equities, a large-cap portfolio designed to optimize return, risk and corporate responsibility. In addition, she engages with clients and prospects on Responsible Investing as AB expands its presence in this area. Previously, Grant was a senior research analyst covering the media, Internet
and consumer-discretionary sectors for the US and Global Large Cap Value portfolios. Prior to that role, she covered the healthcare and consumer-discretionary sectors for the firm’s US Small/Mid-Cap Value team. Grant joined AB in 2006 as a short specialist for the Advanced Value and Global Opportunities funds. Prior to that, she managed corporate acquisitions, divestitures and licensing transactions in the Corporate Development Group at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Grant holds a BS in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA, with high distinction, from Harvard Business School. She was also a Rotary Foundation Scholar in the Department of Economics at the University of Zimbabwe and is a CFA charterholder. Location: New York.

 

ESG and Private Equity

Deborah Spalding co-leads the Commonfund Asset Management Investment team and oversees the design, tailoring, and implementation of custom investment solutions for clients. She also leads the firm’s sustainable investment efforts. Deborah serves as a member of the Commonfund Asset Management Executive Group and the Investment Committee, and chairs the Commonfund Asset Allocation Committee. Prior to joining Commonfund, she was the Chief Investment Officer for the State of Connecticut’s $30 billion Retirement Plans and Trust Funds. Previously, she was a Managing Partner at Working Lands Investment Partners, LLC, an independent investment management firm that invests in rapidly growing environmental markets. Prior to that, she held several executive level positions including Executive Vice President and Head of International Investments for Schroders Investment Management N.A. and Managing Director and Head of International Institutional Investments at Scudder Kemper Investments. She began her career as an equity analyst at SKB & Associates in San Francisco. Deborah received a B.A. in International Relations and Asian Studies from Tufts University and holds graduate degrees from Harvard University, University of California Berkeley and Yale University. She is a past Board Chair and a member of the investment committee of the National Wildlife Federation, and an advisory board member of the Center for Business and the environment at Yale and is a Lecturer in Forest and Ecosystem Finance at Yale.

Anthony (Tony) J. Gordon has over 30 years of experience in executing investment strategies in energy and related infrastructure. As a partner at AVAIO, he brings a depth of experience from having built several infrastructure and related business in the power and midstream sectors in North America and Europe. Tony’s strong interest in climate and pollution issues dates to university, and he has founded and invested in several successful climate and sustainability platforms. Prior to founding AVAIO, Tony spent 14 years at Och-Ziff Capital Management where he was co-founder of the energy private equity business and led investments in the power, midstream and upstream sectors as well as several carbon-reduction focused businesses. Prior to joining Och-Ziff, Tony was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. During his nine-year tenure there, he was co-founder of both their North American and European power and natural gas businesses, creating both Constellation and Orion, with over $500 million deployed into exiting and newbuild power and midstream assets. Since 1989, Tony has been intimately involved in the creation of institutional capital approaches to mitigating the effects of climate change (e.g., OECD Institutional Capital/UHNW Dialogue and SWF Green Finance Forum/Initiative: Integrating Climate Change into Institutional Investment; and COPs: Copenhagen, Lima, Paris, and Bonn). Additionally, Tony has been at the forefront of institutional investment industry dialogue on Sustainability & ESG (Milken Institute; Yale Center on Environmental Law & Policy; and Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance and Nobel Sustainability Award). Tony holds a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Yale University. While at Yale, Tony was a Sussman Fellow at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. He was a founding member of the New York Mercantile Exchange Electric Power and Coal Contract Advisory Committees.

Ricardo Díaz is Head of Americas at Cubico Sustainable Investments. He has ultimate responsibility for the definition and execution of Cubico’s strategy and its day to day management in Americas. He is member of Cubico Executive Committee and Investment Committee in charge of approving new investments. Cubico is one of the leading renewable energy investors in the region with presence in US, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay and Colombia, with a total of projects under management of around 2 GW. Previously, Ricardo was European Head of Asset & Capital Structuring at Santander and was responsible for Santander’s equity investments in energy, infrastructure and transport, which had assets under management in excess of €1 billion. During this time Ricardo originated, structured and executed some of Europe’s landmark renewable energy transactions in PV, wind, CSP and water infrastructure. Prior to Santander, Ricardo worked for Arthur Andersen. He graduated from Vigo University and holds a BA with honours in Economics, an MBA from London Business School and Executive Education from Harvard Business School.

Cary Krosinsky is a widely respected educator, author and senior advisor on sustainable finance. His ongoing teaching includes popular classes on sustainable investing at Brown, at the Yale School of Management, at NYU and he is a Faculty Advisory Committee member on Energy Studies at Yale College teaching an exit seminar on the subject. He co-hosted a symposium at Peking University HSBC Business School in Shenzhen on January 8-9, 2019 and contributes regularly to China’s recent opening up to all things ESG. His books include the recent Sustainable Investing: Revolutions in Theory and Practice, chosen by the People’s Bank of China for translation and inclusion in the government’s official Green Finance Series in 2018 as the only foreign contribution and his next, seventh book will be on Modern China. He is also Co-Founder and Director of the Carbon Tracker Initiative and Real Impact Tracker, member of the NY State Common Decarbonization Advisory Panel appointed by Governor Cuomo and Comptroller DiNapoli in 2018, and a contributor to the recent China-UK Green Finance Taskforce report titled Delivering a Greener Tomorrow. Among recent papers published include those for the PRI in 2015 including a Framework for Asset Owner Strategy on Climate Change.

 

Rethinking ESG Disclosure

Edward Farrington is an Executive Vice President with Natixis Investment Managers where he leads several multi-channel business units, including the Defined Contribution and personal retirement business. Mr. Farrington was previously based in London where he led global wholesale efforts for the firm, supporting clients throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Prior to joining Natixis, Mr. Farrington served as national fundraising manager for Fidelity Charitable Services. There, he led fundraising efforts for the nation’s largest donor-advised fund. Mr. Farrington also held senior roles in Chicago, San Diego, and Boston with Fidelity Investments. He has more than 20 years of experience in investment management.

Dan Esty is the Hillhouse Professor at Yale University with primary appointments at Yale’s Environment and Law Schools -- and a secondary appointment at the Yale School of Management. He also serves as Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy (www.yale.edu/envirocenter) and on the advisory board of the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, which he founded in 2006. Professor Esty is the author or editor of twelve books (including the prizewinning guide to corporate sustainability, Green to Gold) and dozens of articles on environmental and energy policy -- and their connections to regulatory policy, corporate strategy, sustainability performance measurement, competitiveness, trade, and economic success. His most recent (edited) book, A Better Planet: 40 Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future, offers fresh thinking from a range of perspectives on how to mobilize action in response to today’s energy and environmental challenges. From 1989-93, Professor Esty served in a number of senior positions in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. During this time, he led EPA’s regulatory review process and helped to negotiate the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. From 2011-14, he returned to government service as Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Known for his innovative work at the business-sustainability interface, Professor Esty has also provided strategy advice to companies, governments, international organizations, NGOs, and foundations around the world.

Diane Strauss is the Research Director of the Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance (YISF) where she develops and conducts research projects. She has seven years of experience in sustainable finance and policy. Before joining YISF, Diane worked for the think tank 2Degrees Investing Initiative, for the European policy office of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and for the French investment bank Natixis. She is the author of several research papers published with the UNEP-Inquiry, France Strategy and Columbia University/Palgrave Macmillan editions, looking into the impact of public policies on the flow of capital for sustainable investments.

Alexandra P. Cart is co-founder of Madeira Global, a leading environmental, social and governance (ESG) advisory and reporting firm, which uses a quantitative analytical approach to seamlessly measure, integrate and communicate the nonfinancial impact of their clients’ investments. For her work in the industry, Alexandra's accolades include being named a Forbes "30 under 30" Social Entrepreneur, a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Fellow, one of the WSJ "Women of Note” as well as a member of the Milken Young Leaders Circle. She is a frequent featured speaker globally and her work has been highlighted in publications including Institutional
Investor, Conscious Company and Leaders Magazine. Previously, Alexandra was a managing director at G2 Investment Group, a New York-based boutique investment management firm. Additionally, she has worked with government and political entities in the United Kingdom, United States and Argentina. She graduated from Middlebury College with a B.A. in International Studies and Political Science with a specialization in Latin America. Additionally, Alexandra is an active term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and sits on the advisory boards of Pennington Partners & Co. and Rockefeller Capital Management.

 

Plenary

Brian Deese, Managing Director, is Global Head of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock. The Sustainable Investing team is focused on identifying drivers of long-term return associated with environmental, social and governance issues, integrating them throughout Blackrock's investment processes, and creating solutions for clients to achieve sustainable investment return. Previously, Brian worked in the White House under President Obama where he was the President's senior advisor for climate and energy policy, helping to negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement and other national and international initiatives. Early on in the Obama Administration, Brian was one of the key architects in the resurgence of the auto industry after the financial crisis. Brian also served as deputy director of the National Economic Council and deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Most recently, he has been providing advice to institutions interested in sustainable investing strategies and lecturing at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Brian earned a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a B.A. from Middlebury College.

 

Climate Risk and ESG Investing

Brian Reilly is Global Head of Sustainable & Impact Banking and Chairman of Global Equity Capital Markets (ECM) within the Investment Bank at Barclays. Based in New York, he is also a member of the Americas Banking Operating Committee, Chairman of the Social Innovation Facility and Head of the Early Careers Recruiting Committee. Brian joined Barclays from Lehman Brothers in 2008 as Head of Asset Management within the Financial Institutions Group. He was named Head of Americas ECM in 2010, and was appointed to his current position leading the global business in 2014. Brian has over 20 years of experience originating and executing capital markets and M&A transactions. Prior to Barclays, he was Head of the Communications, Media and Internet vertical within Equity Capital Markets at Lehman Brothers. Over the course of his career, he has led over 100 capital markets transactions for companies across all industry sectors. Before joining Lehman Brothers, Brian was a corporate lawyer for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York, and prior to that, he served as a law clerk for a federal judge, Chief Judge Thomas C. Platt, in the Eastern District of New York. Brian earned his J.D. from Yale Law School and his B.A. from Yale University. He serves as Co-President of the Yale Lacrosse Association, a member of the Board of Consultors of Villanova University College of Nursing, and a board member of Project Nyame Nsa (non-profit that builds and operates foster homes for orphans in Africa).

Natalie Ambrosio is Four Twenty Seven’s Editor who manages publications and communications, writing on climate change’s economic impacts, strategies for financial actors to assess and manage risk, and the interconnected nature of climate resilience. She leverages her background in climate adaptation, communications and environmental sciences to translate technical information into actionable insights for building climate resilience across sectors. Previously, Natalie helped develop an assessment of U.S. cities’ vulnerabilities to climate change and their readiness to adapt, at the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN). Natalie holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and a certificate in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy from the University of Notre Dame.

Paul Griffin is a professor and an international authority in accounting, financial information, and company disclosures in capital markets. He has published over 70 articles in leading accounting and finance journals, five research monographs for the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and two case books on U.S. corporate financial reporting. His research has had a substantial impact on the profession. His recent publications examine the impact of sustainability performance ratings on analysts’ information costs, the effects of social norms on sustainability disclosure, and the impact of extreme weather on physical climate risk and disclosure in financial markets. Professor Griffin recently served as co-editor of Accounting Horizons. Before arriving at UC Davis, Griffin was an assistant professor at the Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Griffin earned both his Ph.D. in accounting and his M.A. in operations research and economic theory from The Ohio State University.

Leonardo Martinez-Diaz is Global Director of the Sustainable Finance Center at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington, D.C., where he heads a team of researchers working to promote the flow of public and private finance to environmentally-sustainable activities, including climate adaptation and mitigation. Prior to joining WRI, Leonardo served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Energy and Environment. In that capacity, he represented the United States on the governing boards of several multilateral climate and environmental funds, including the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility. He also directed Treasury's domestic and international work on climate finance and led on climate finance elements of international negotiations, including the 2015 Paris Agreement and the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Before that, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for the Western Hemisphere and as Director of the Office of Policy at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Leonardo has a DPhil (PhD) from Magdalen College, Oxford, and did his undergraduate work at Northwestern University. He is author of Globalizing in Hard Times: The Politics of Banking-Sector Opening in the Emerging World (Cornell, 2009) and co-author, with Alice C. Hill, of Building a Resilient Tomorrow: How to Prepare for the Coming Climate Disruption (Oxford, 2019).

 

Asset Owner Perspectives on ESG

Lars Lindblom manages Global Fixed Income at the Second Swedish National Pension Fund with focus on ESG and Green Bonds in specific. He has worked for 18 year in finance with different roles and responsibilities. His recent activities has been with focus on devolving and broadening the funds ESG strategy within fixed income by implementing and managing one of the first dedicated Global Green Bond portfolios. He has a MSc in Financial economics and Political Science from the University of Gothenburg. More recently he received an Executive MBA from Gothenburg School of Economics. Mr. Lindbolm serves on the Advisory Board of the Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance and was also as an expert on the Swedish Government inquiry to promote the market for Green Bond Market.

Andrew Collins is Director of ESG Investing for the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS). Previously, he was an ESG Investment Strategist with State Street Global Advisors, and prior to that he was Technical Director of Standards Setting at the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). He has also held roles in environmental auditing and consulting, and worked as a corporate sustainability manager for the Indian conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra. Andrew holds a BS from Yale University.

Deborah Spalding co-leads the Commonfund Asset Management Investment team and oversees the design, tailoring, and implementation of custom investment solutions for clients. She also leads the firm’s sustainable investment efforts. Deborah serves as a member of the Commonfund Asset Management Executive Group and the Investment Committee, and chairs the Commonfund Asset Allocation Committee. Prior to joining Commonfund, she was the Chief Investment Officer for the State of Connecticut’s $30 billion Retirement Plans and Trust Funds. Previously, she was a Managing Partner at Working Lands Investment Partners, LLC, an independent investment management firm that invests in rapidly growing environmental markets. Prior to that, she held several executive level positions including Executive Vice President and Head of International Investments for Schroders Investment Management N.A. and Managing Director and Head of International Institutional Investments at Scudder Kemper Investments. She began her career as an equity analyst at SKB & Associates in San Francisco. Deborah received a B.A. in International Relations and Asian Studies from Tufts University and holds graduate degrees from Harvard University, University of California Berkeley and Yale University. She is a past Board Chair and a member of the investment committee of the National Wildlife Federation, and an advisory board member of the Center for Business and the environment at Yale and is a Lecturer in Forest and Ecosystem Finance at Yale.

George Wong is the ESG Integration Manager for the New York State Common Retirement Fund. He has been working through training and education to build the Fund’s internal perspective on what policies drive ESG performance to better make ESG considerations in investments. George had also been previously charged as a North America consultant providing local guidance and expertise for the next phase of the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment’s (PRI) work in United States of America. He has continued to support the PRI by looking to serve on PRI working groups and advisory committees. George has contributed to and been quoted in a number of reports on integrating ESG factors into investment processes and decision making. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

We would like to thank our sponsors

We would like to thank our sponsors

 


 

We would like to thank our sponsors

We would like to thank our sponsors

We would like to thank our sponsors