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Sustainable Investing: Perspectives and Opportunities

Sustainable Investing: Perspectives and Opportunities

May 13, 2014

8:30 am – 8:40 am
Continental Breakfast and Check-in

8:40 am – 8:45 am
Opening Remarks
Steve Loren, Committee Chair, NYSSA
Drianne Benner, Managing Director, Appomattox Advisory

8:45am – 9:30am
The Landscape of Sustainable Investing– Opportunities and Perspectives
This speaker will address questions such as: What asset classes are included in the landscape? How is this being done now? Who are the investors and what are they concerned about? What is the size of the market and who is driving growth? What are the current and potential roles of industry groups?
Kevin Parker, CEO, Sustainable Insight Capital Management

9:30am – 10:15am
Total Portfolio Activation, Investing Across all Asset Classes
This panel will explore the following perspectives in a total portfolio context: What is Sustainable Investing? What is the role of ESG criteria in the Sustainable Investment process? Where does impact investing fit? What other approaches are there to invest for financial returns while incorporating a social lens? What’s the potential role for microfinance, social impact bonds and private equity? Who is doing this and are there barriers to investing? Are fiduciary concerns an issue?
Diane Keefe, Trustee National Finance and Investment Committees, American Friends Service Committee (Moderator)

Aner Ben-Ami, Managing Director, Pi Investments
Jason Green, Chief Investment Officer, Blue Moon Fund
Nikita Singhal, Impact Investor, FB Heron Foundation

10:15am – 10:30am

10:30am – 11:15am
Incorporating ESG Criteria into Investment Decision Making
ESG risks need to be identified, understood and managed in every class. How does one know if those risks are material to investment performance? What tools exist to evaluate them? How does that knowledge affect decision-making? Where does impact investing fit in and how do you measure it and align it to fundamental risk-return objectives? Our panelists, who bring perspectives from public equities, fixed income and real estate, will address those questions and others, including how ESG analysis can lead to new investment opportunity and competitive advantage and how they draw upon emerging frameworks such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

Peter Ellsworth, Senior Manager, Investor Programs, Ceres (Moderator)

Nicholas S. Elfner, Director of Corporate Research, Breckinridge Capital Advisors
Ari Frankel, Head of ESG Strategy, Real Estate, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Mgt.
Robert Morris, Associate, Strategic Product Management Group, BlackRock
Cheryl Smith, PhD, CFA, Partner, Investment Manager, Trillium Asset Mgt.

11:15am – 12:00pm
A Case Study: Using ESG/Impact Investing Tools to Construct Portfolios
An overview of how several investors use these tools to research investment opportunities and construct a diversified portfolio. This will include a review of the tools available and how they are used. What is the rationale for using particular tools vs. others.

Anna Snider, CAIA, Director, Global Head of Equity Due Diligence, Merrill Lynch
Wealth Management (Moderator)

Mark Bateman, ESG/SRI Consultant, Aperio Group
Samuel Pierce, President and CEO, IW Financial
Liz Luckett, Director of Impact Investing, Pershing Square Foundation

12:00pm – 12:15pm

12:15pm – 1:15pm
Lunch Panel – Investment Strategies in Response to Climate Risk
Deploying capital into a world exposed to increased stresses from accelerating climatic changes presents new opportunities and new risks for investors. This panel will explore strategic and tactical approaches across various asset classes.

Bruce Kahn, PhD, Portfolio Manager, Sustainable Insight Capital Management

Silda Wall Spitzer, Principal, NewWorld Capital Group
Nicholas P. Whitcombe, Managing Director, NY State Green Bank
Bob Litterman, Chairman, Risk Committee, Kepos Capital

1:15pm – 1:30pm

1:30pm – 1:45pm
Introduction to Workshops
Himani Phadke,Assoc. Dir. of Research, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

1:45pm – 2:45pm
Workshop: Incorporating Metrics into Investment Decision Making
These workshops will build on the earlier panel and demonstrate how investors are integrating metrics into the investment process for sustainable/ESG public equities, and impact investing/alternatives – are the metrics all the same? Where do metrics fit in constructing an overall portfolio? How does it vary by asset class?

Workshop I: Bloomberg
Lenora Suki, CFA, Senior Product Strategist, Bloomberg LP

Workshop II: MSCI
Linda-Eling Lee, PhD, Executive Director & Global Head of ESG Research, MSCI
Kimberly Jensen, Barra Asset Manager Consultant, MSCI

Workshop III: Impact Investing
Graham Sinclair, Principal, Sustainable Investment Consulting LLC

2:45pm – 2:50pm

2:50pm – 3:20pm
ESG 2.0

Can the Sustainability Transformation be achieved within the confines of our existing market institutions and structures? During this talk, we will explore an emerging investment architecture that represents both a reengineering and bold repurposing of time-tested techniques. It enables institutional investors to partner
with values-aligned business leaders, empowering them to co-create the rapid transition we must make to a truly sustainable economy.
John Fullerton, Founder and President, Capital Institute

3:20pm – 3:30pm
Closing Remarks: Portfolio Construction and Asset Allocation
To conclude the day, speakers will recap the discussion of sustainable investments across asset class (debt, equity, and alternatives) and methods/tools for total portfolio construction.


Sustainable investing is the mega trend of our time. In the face of unprecedented challenges, the world relies on the mechanisms and transformative capacity of capital markets and market mechanisms in general as a cure-all. Sustainable investing strategies have naturally captured the imaginations of investment professionals and other civil society actors across all disciplines. The dynamics of our 21st century economy has unleashed the economic power of the intangible while at the same time opening our eyes to the constraints and challenges of the tangible. Human and intellectual capital, company brand and reputation, and networks are under-appreciated economic value creators. Resource constraints and environmental challenges have heightened our awareness of the fragility of this system of natural capital that serves as the under-priced foundation for all of our economic activities. Pioneering thought leaders and practitioners are rethinking, remeasuring, and remaking natural, social, and financial capital into a new business model and investment practice.

In this full-day Sustainable Investing Summit, we will hear from the visionaries and practitioners who are realizing the benefits of incorporating different kinds of capital into their investment analysis and decision-making process. We will look at how Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations are incorporated into research analysis and portfolio selection. We will understand the various new metrics and techniques used to measure the impact of investments as well as how data is being collected, standardized, and synthesized to evaluate ESG performance across asset classes. We will also evaluate the challenges and rewards of integrating ESG considerations as well as address the due diligence and fiduciary imperatives that new research has uncovered.


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