SRI360 | Socially Responsible Investing, ESG, Impact Investing, Sustainable Investing

Scott Arnell

The SRI360 Podcast is focused exclusively on Socially Responsible, ESG, Impact, Sustainable & Responsible investing. To learn more, visit SRI360.com. Each episode presents an interview with a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from different asset classes in lively, wide-ranging, long-format discussions. In each interview, we try to cover everything from each investor's early personal journey—and what motivated and attracted them to commit their life energy to SRI—to insights on how they developed and executed their investment strategies, what challenges they face today and much more. The conversations usually last between one to two hours—and occasionally even longer. So, each episode is a chance to go way below the surface with these impressive people and gain additional insights and useful lessons from world-class investors. Past guests include Jenn Pryce, Calvert Impact Capital; Alina Donets, LO Assets Managers; Matt Patsky, Trillium Investment Management; Jed Emerson, Tiedemann Advisors; Eric Rice, BlackRock; Simon Bond Columbia Threadneedle Asset Management; and more.

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Episodes

Wall Street's Green Bond Warrior: From Creating GB Principles to Financing the Energy Transition | Marilyn Ceci, JP Morgan (#040)
2d ago
Wall Street's Green Bond Warrior: From Creating GB Principles to Financing the Energy Transition | Marilyn Ceci, JP Morgan (#040)
The world of finance has proven that it has the power to drive the global decarbonization effort and advance interest in ESG investments. ⁤⁤Learn how this is happening with one of the architects of the Green Bond Principles. ⁤⁤Today's guest is Marilyn Ceci, a titan in the world of sustainable finance. ⁤She started in interest rate sales at JP Morgan, making her way to Head of ESG Debt Capital Market, and is now the Managing Director and Senior Advisor to the Center for Carbon Transition. ⁤⁤With over three decades of experience, Marilyn spearheaded ESG debt capital market growth and co-authored the Green Bond Principles, a cornerstone in the development of the green bond market worldwide. She also steered JP Morgan to become the #1 Global Sustainable Bond Underwriter multiple years in a row.⁤Marilyn is a major force in driving the global sustainability agenda forward, earning her several awards and recognitions such as Wall Street's Green Bond Warrior by Reuters and GlobalCapital's Top Most Impressive Green/SRI Investment Banker. ⁤In this episode, I dig into the origins of the Green Bond Principles and their evolution. ⁤⁤Marilyn also shares how green bonds differ from traditional bonds, the role of bonds and fixed income in driving long-term ESG impact, and more. ⁤⁤Join me in this powerful discussion on the transformative power of green bonds and how Marilyn’s work contributes to sustainably financing the carbon transition. —Show notes: {link}—About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. —Connect with SRI360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update.Visit the SRI360° PODCAST.Visit the SRI360° WEBSITE. Follow SRI360° on X.Follow SRI360° on FACEBOOK.—Key Takeaways:Intro (00:00)Meet Marilyn Ceci (02:31)An overview of JP Morgan and their ESG debt strategy (07:48)From interest rate sales to kickstarting the green bond market (12:07)Incentives for issuing a green bond vs. a traditional bond & examples (23:36)Insights on co-authoring the green bond principles & their evolution (29:50)The role of bonds and fixed income in driving long-term ESG impact (39:25)Supporting biodiversity, stakeholder engagement, & greenwashing (45:18)Marilyn’s take on the new European green bond regulation (51:27)Marilyn’s role at JP Morgan's Center for Carbon Transition (55:14)The future of fossil fuel-related projects at JP Morgan (01:03:24)Experience with teaching at Duke University (01:04:58)Rapid fire questions (01:06:48)—Additional Resources:JP Morgan's Center for Carbon TransitionJP Morgan's Carbon Compass OverviewJP Morgan's Carbon Compass MethodologyJP Morgan’s 2023 Climate ReportPlanet Tracker Green Washing Report Connect with Marilyn Ceci on
How To Generate Alpha & Impact in Emerging Markets with THIS Cutting-Edge ESG Quant Strategy | Asha Mehta (#039)
Apr 8 2024
How To Generate Alpha & Impact in Emerging Markets with THIS Cutting-Edge ESG Quant Strategy | Asha Mehta (#039)
Emerging and frontier markets are full of opportunities often overlooked by the mainstream investment community.Today’s guest will help us understand these markets and prove how systematic investing in publicly listed equities can unlock their potential for alpha and impact generation.Meet Asha Mehta, the managing partner & CIO at Global Delta Capital, a US-based equity long-only investment manager focused on harnessing the power of capital to fuel social and economic development in international, emerging, and frontier markets.With a background that begins with medical and anthropological studies at Stanford and a well-traveled upbringing, Asha developed an interest in microfinance lending in India after witnessing its extreme poverty in the late 90s. This experience led her to pioneering roles in sustainable and quant investing, making a mark on the international investment scene.Recognized as one of the Top 10 Women in Asset Management and dubbed a "Brilliant Quant" by Forbes, Asha’s career highlights include leading emerging market strategies at Acadian Asset Management, where she launched the first quantitative/systematic frontier fund.At the core of this episode is Global Delta Capital’s combination of systematic stock selection and a fundamental thematic overlay on the opportunities present in emerging and frontier markets. Asha and her team are not just seeking high returns; they're using their combined expertise to leverage ESG data and make a tangible impact on the world’s financial, environmental, and social landscape.We also discuss a range of topics, including the importance of financial literacy, quantitative investing, examples of emerging markets that Global Delta Capital has invested in, and Asha’s take on the future of investment in developing economies.If you’re intrigued by the power of capital to drive global change and want to learn from one of the leading voices in the field, this is an episode you cannot miss.Tune in and be inspired by this adventure capitalist. —Show notes: {link}—About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. —Connect with SRI360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update.Visit the SRI360° PODCAST.Visit the SRI360° WEBSITE.Follow SRI360° on X.Follow SRI360° on FACEBOOK.—Key TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Asha Mehta’s background and transition into finance (02:47) Founding Global Delta Capital (24:43)Overview of Global Delta Capital's strategy and focus areas (35:06)Asha explains quantitative investing & strategies for sourcing reliable data (41:07)The investment process at Global Delta Capital (55:16)Discovering opportunities in the emerging markets: Saudi Arabia’s case (01:03:52)Shareholder engagement, risk management, & examples of impact  (01:11:39)Asha’s book “Power of Capital” & emerging market predictions (01:21:03)Rapid fire questions (01:32:45)—Additional Resources Find Asha’s book “Power of Capital” here.Learn more about Global Delta Capital here: WebsiteLinkedInConnect with Asha Mehta on LinkedIn.The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are that of Asha Mehta’s only,
Creating Blue Haven Initiative: A Millennial’s 100% Impact-Focused Single-Family Office | Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Co-Founder (#038)
Mar 25 2024
Creating Blue Haven Initiative: A Millennial’s 100% Impact-Focused Single-Family Office | Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Co-Founder (#038)
Millennials care much more about how their investments affect the world around them. Since they’re set to inherit the largest wealth transfer in history, we’re seeing a shift toward impact investing.Today’s episode is proof.My guest is Liesel Pritzker Simmons, a millennial who’s rewriting the rules of wealth management with her single-family office, Blue Haven Initiative. It’s one of the world’s first family offices to go all-in with impact investing across all asset classes, transforming their wealth into catalysts for social and environmental impact through strategic investments. We begin the conversation with her transition from Hollywood's silver screens to the forefront of private wealth investing. Born into a lineage renowned for its philanthropic and entrepreneurial ventures, Liesel's journey is not just one of inheriting wealth but of redefining its purpose.Through her acting work and her time at Columbia University, Liesel developed a diverse background that laid the groundwork for co-founding the Blue Haven Initiative with her husband in 2012.At BHI, Liesel oversees a diverse portfolio that spans several asset classes, including traditional equities, private equity, and philanthropic programs, all structured to generate financial returns while addressing social and environmental challenges. Liesel also works closely with organizations that support and advance the field of impact investing, co-founding The ImPact, a network of families committed to the conscientious stewardship of wealth, and serving as a board member of Activate, the IDP Foundation, and ImpactAssets.Blue Haven Initiative demonstrates that a single-family office can do more than just manage wealth; it can wield it as a force for good through strategic placements in sustainable ventures and innovative startups. Our conversation also explores topics of social responsibility, investing in fintech in Sub-Saharan Africa, the power of civic engagement, and catalytic and philanthropic capital.Ready to learn how you can also transform your wealth into a force for positive change? Listen in.—Show notes here.—About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. —Connect with SRI360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update.Visit the SRI360° PODCAST.Visit the SRI360° WEBSITE.Follow SRI360° on X. Follow SRI360° on FACEBOOK.—Key TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Liesel’s transition from child actor to impact investor (02:37)A Millennial’s POV on investing (22:11)What the Blue Haven Initiative is & their investment approach (25:48)Blue Haven’s impact goals and strategies (40:30)A few examples of Blue Haven’s investments (56:17)Investing in the youth vote (01:04:28)Thoughts on impact washing, catalytic capital, and philanthropic capital (01:10:39)Rapid fire questions (01:23:14)—Additional Resources Learn more about Liesel’s foundation. Learn more about the five dimensions of impact here.Learn more about the Blue Haven Initiative.Connect with Liesel Pritzker Simmons:LinkedIn
Social Finance's CEO Shares Everything You Need To Know About Social Impact Bonds | Adam Swersky, CEO, Social Finance (#037)
Mar 18 2024
Social Finance's CEO Shares Everything You Need To Know About Social Impact Bonds | Adam Swersky, CEO, Social Finance (#037)
In the pursuit of social change, every bit of investment can make a difference. Learn how Social Finance is leading the charge through social impact bonds.Today, I’m interviewing Adam Swersky, CEO of Social Finance (UK), the non-profit enterprise responsible for creating the world’s first social impact bond. He’s here to talk all about social impact bonds and has been at the forefront of designing solutions that bring together finance with social impact since he joined the organization in 2014. After studying economics at Cambridge, Adam became a project leader at the Boston Consulting Group, where he advised private, public, and not-for-profit organizations on strategy and transformation. There, he was seconded to the Clinton Health Access Initiative in West Africa to support Niger in accessing a subsidy for malaria medication.Now as CEO of Social Finance, Adam shares how this organization, which predates the term "impact investing," leads the effort of designing solutions to solve social challenges beyond mere investment.  He also details how they have broadened beyond investment to involve data collection and analysis, philanthropy, building new ventures, government advisory, and beyond. From the mechanics of how social impact bonds function to several real-life examples of social bonds at work, this episode delivers a deep look into social impact financing. We also touch on the capabilities and limitations of private capital in addressing social challenges, and Adam’s insights on leading an impact-focused business.This conversation is a deeper exploration of how social impact bonds serve as a partnership between social investors, governments, and providers to design solutions to social challenges.Feeling intrigued? Listen now to learn how Adam and Social Finance are pioneering the path for impactful investing. —Show notes: https://sri360.com/podcast/https-sri360-com-podcast-adam-swersky/—About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes.—Connect with SRI360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update: https://sri360.com/newsletter/Visit the SRI360° PODCAST: https://sri360.com/podcast/Visit the SRI360° WEBSITE: https://sri360.com/Follow SRI360° on X: https://twitter.com/SRI360Growth/Follow SRI360° on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SRI360Growth/—Key TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Adam Swersky’s background and start at Boston Consulting Group (03:03)An overview of Social Finance: How they began & what they do (18:07)How Social Finance produces transformative social impact (30:11)A look into the world’s first social impact bond for Peterborough inmates (35:59)The Mental Health and Employment Partnership Program (45:51)A detailed look into the workings of social bonds (50:39)Measuring outcomes and managing risks for social impact bonds (57:58)The evolution of social impact bonds (01:07:57)Adam’s thoughts on leadership & rapid fire questions (01:19:54)—Additional Resources Learn more about Social Finance here. Connect with Adam Swersky:LinkedIn X/Twitter Medium
How BlackRock Invests in Green Bonds & ESG Fixed Income | Ashley Schulten, Head of ESG Investing, Global Fixed Income (#036)
Mar 11 2024
How BlackRock Invests in Green Bonds & ESG Fixed Income | Ashley Schulten, Head of ESG Investing, Global Fixed Income (#036)
What if your investments could be a force for global change? At BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company, they’re steering capital towards a sustainable future with green bonds and ESG fixed-income investing.In this episode, I’m speaking with Ashley Schulten, the Head of ESG Investment for Global Fixed Income at BlackRock. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, Ashley entered the world of finance as a bond trader at First Union. From there, she evolved in the financial world at institutions like BNP Paribas, J.P. Morgan, and Goldman Sachs, before landing at BlackRock. At BlackRock, where over 600 people manage more than $700 billion invested in sustainable strategies, Ashley oversees ESG investing and integration in the active fixed-income asset class.Besides driving the change toward a sustainable future within finance, her leadership extends beyond BlackRock to influential roles in the TCFD and the Executive Committee of the ICMA Green and Social Bond Principles.Ashley is also an Aspen Institute First Movers Fellow and sits on the board of the Mianus River Gorge, the first land conservancy project for the Nature Conservancy, which showcases her commitment to sustainability.This episode highlights the power of integrating ESG data into investment analysis and decision-making. Ashley also shares how she saw the birth and development of the green bonds market, explaining how they work, and how BlackRock was an early adopter of this transformative financial instrument.By leveraging green bonds, impact investing, and ESG data, BlackRock not only achieves its desired risk profiles and outcomes for investors but also drives meaningful change in the real economy.Ashley and I also discuss BlackRock’s PEXT/NEXT ESG framework that her team uses to evaluate, tag, and categorize investments based on their positive and negative externalities.Ready to learn the ins and outs of green bonds and ESG fixed-income investing? Tune in.Show notes:  https://sri360.com/podcast/ashley-schulten/About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. Connect with SRI360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update Visit the SRI360° PODCASTVisit the SRI360° WEBSITEFollow SRI360° on X/Twitter  Follow SRI360° on FACEBOOK Key Takeaways:Intro (00:00)Meet Ashley Schulten and learn about her background (03:00)Ashley’s evolution from options trader to Head of ESG of Global Fixed Income at BlackRock(13:22)An overview of BlackRock & its sustainable strategies (21:09)Green bonds & the role of publicly traded bonds in sustainability (25:50)ESG criteria in investment analysis & an explanation of PEXT/NEXT (34:31)ESG-integrated vs. ESG-tilted portfolios & examples of ESG fixed-income funds (46:58)The evolution of green bonds into a trillion-dollar market & their role in sustainable finance (57:32)Measuring impact on fixed-income portfolios & issuer engagement (01:05:22)Final thoughts & rapid fire questions (01:13:50)Additional Resources: Connect with Ashley: LinkedInConnect with BlackRock: Twitter Website
Scaling Purpose-Driven Startups with Impact Venture Capital | Impact Evangelist, Gordon Eichhorst (#035)
Feb 26 2024
Scaling Purpose-Driven Startups with Impact Venture Capital | Impact Evangelist, Gordon Eichhorst (#035)
Imagine your portfolio as a catalyst for change, where each investment contributes to solving the world's most pressing social and environmental challenges. That's the promise of impact investing. Today, we're discussing everything you need to know about impact venture capital investing with a guest whose career trajectory embodies this ethos like no other—Gordon Eichhorst, a trailblazer in impact venture capital.Gordon's journey into investing begins unconventionally. While he studied both engineering and economics at UCLA, he started his professional life by designing and launching spacecraft as an aerospace engineer and member of the NASA Advisory Council. With the dip in aerospace developments in the '90s, Gordon found a renewed interest in economics, particularly in analytic finance, leading him to pursue an MBA from the University of Chicago. It was on this path that he positioned himself in leading roles as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and later on, at Morgan Stanley, where he led the European technology banking team during the first internet bubble. After his time at HSBC as Global Head of the Industrial and Technology sectors, he settled down in London and set up an investment banking advisory boutique, which ultimately seeded the ideas for making a bigger impact on the world. As the founder of Impact Central, and a General Partner at Opto Impact Ventures, Gordon has been at the forefront of supporting purpose-driven entrepreneurs and startups on their path to growth. Impact Central has nurtured over 50 startups through ten cohorts, proving that solving social and environmental problems can go hand-in-hand with generating profit. Today's episode explores Gordon's multifaceted career, from his early days as an engineer to his crucial role in shaping the arena of impact venture capital. If you’ve been meaning to invest in or start a business with a greater purpose, listen in and learn all about how Gordon’s VC fund and accelerator programs bring profit and sustainability together.Show notes: https://sri360.com/podcast/gordon-eichhorst/About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes.Connect with SRI360°:Sign up for the free weekly email updateVisit the SRI360° PODCASTVisit the SRI360° WEBSITEFollow SRI360° on X/TwitterFollow SRI360° on FACEBOOKKey TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Gordon Eichhorst’s trajectory from engineer to investment banker (02:34)Founding Opto Impact, Impact Central, and Chorus Network (11:10)Gordon’s approach to impact investing (23:46)Chorus Network, Opto Impact, and startup investing (36:02)Opportunities in consumer goods, public service providers, & Tech for Good (45:45)Gordon’s criteria for making an impact investment in an early-stage startup (51:11)A real-life example of a successful impact investment (01:04:36)Measuring  impact and looking out for impact-washing (01:19:40)Impact investing vs. other forms of impact investment (01:24:20)The types of investors at Opto Impact (01:27:44)Gordon’s thoughts on AI and final questions (01:33:35) Additional ResourcesConnect with Gordon Eichhorst Impact Central Website Opto Impact Website
CalSTRS CIO, Chris Ailman, on His Visionary ESG Strategy for the World’s Largest Educator-Only Pension Fund (#034)
Feb 19 2024
CalSTRS CIO, Chris Ailman, on His Visionary ESG Strategy for the World’s Largest Educator-Only Pension Fund (#034)
Does your pension fund contribute to a more sustainable world? CalSTRS does and has been since the 1970s/80s. To lead this conversation is the very first pension fund guest for SRI 360°, Chris Ailman, one of the world’s most recognized and respected Chief Investment Officers. Multiple award winner, Chris currently acts as CIO of CalSTRS, managing its $311.5 billion portfolio, making it the second-largest pension fund in the United States and the largest educational pension fund in the world.With over 39 years of expertise in institutional investment, Chris has become a thought leader in incorporating ESG criteria into his long-term, “patient” capital investing approach.His journey began with an early fascination with the stock market, leading him from the role of registered rep at Dean Witter to becoming a certified financial planner from USC. His interest in institutional investment carried him through pivotal roles, from Sacramento's county retirement system to the Washington State Investment Board, before landing at CalSTRS in 2000. Chris has not only placed CalSTRS as a beacon of sustainable investing but has also been recognized globally for his innovative investment approach. He’s also the mind behind the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, the chair of the 300 Club, and co-chair of the Milken Global Capital Markets Committee.In this episode, Chris and I reflect on the evolution of ESG investing and its critical role in shaping our planet’s future. His narrative is not just about investment; it's a testament to his belief in the power of long-term investing and the need for a sustainable approach to wealth management.We also explore the challenges of integrating ESG into traditional investment frameworks, the importance of shareholder engagement and corporate governance, and the future of sustainable investing. Tune in to this conversation to gain valuable insights from one of the world’s most influential figures in pension fund management and sustainable investing. Show notes: https://sri360.com/podcast/chris-ailman/About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes.Connect with SRI360°:Sign up for the free weekly email updateVisit the SRI360° PODCASTVisit the SRI360° WEBSITEFollow SRI360° on X/TwitterFollow SRI360° on FACEBOOKKey TakeawaysAn overview of the CalSTRS portfolio (17:14)Chris’ theory of change on long-term capital investing (24:09)The ins and outs of ESG investing strategy (25:40)Sustainable investing, shareholder engagement, and corporate governance (40:26)The CalSTRS net-zero emissions pledge (49:13)Chris’ thoughts on nuclear power (55:00)Differences between how Europe & USA view ESG (59:26)Sectors making progress towards global sustainability (01:06:01)Sustainability initiatives that Chris is involved in (01:12:13)Final questions for Chris (01:15:42)Additional Resources Connect with Chris Ailman on LinkedInCalSTRS WebsiteCalSTRS Sustainable InvestingCalSTRS Path to Net ZeroCalSTRS LinkedI
The Key to Successful Renewable Energy: Investing in Battery Energy Storage Systems  w/ Ben Guest, Gresham House Energy Storage Fund (#033)
Feb 12 2024
The Key to Successful Renewable Energy: Investing in Battery Energy Storage Systems w/ Ben Guest, Gresham House Energy Storage Fund (#033)
The transition from traditional investment in energy production to renewable energy represents a significant shift in addressing climate change challenges.To help us understand the intricacies of investing in renewables and utility-scale battery energy storage systems, I am joined by Ben Guest, the Managing Director of Gresham House New Energy Division.Ben has over 29 years of investment experience that spans the investment spectrum across infrastructure, technology, public equities, and venture capital asset classes.He has been a pioneer investor in battery energy storage systems since the early development days of the sector.Ben's upbringing was truly global, with parents from Argentina and Africa, leading to diverse educational experiences in France, Japan, Sweden, and the UK.  He holds a BEng in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College.Beginning his fund management career in 1994 at Lazard Asset Management, Ben later founded Hazel Capital in 2007. The acquisition of Hazel Capital in 2017 transformed it into Gresham House New Energy Division, where Ben manages substantial assets, including the Gresham House Energy Storage Fund Plc.The conversation delves into Ben's expertise—in the renewable energy sector, particularly battery energy storage systems. He discusses the challenges of real-time supply and demand balancing, highlighting the vital role batteries can play in not only stabilizing the grid but also providing the key to transitioning the electrical grid to predominately renewable energy.Ben breaks down the complexities of battery energy storage systems revenue models, addressing challenges posed by supply and demand fluctuations. He also shares his thoughts on the future of renewable energy infrastructure, emphasizing sustainability, carbon emissions reduction through battery energy storage systems, and the evolving landscape of the energy transition.I hope you enjoy my conversation with Ben as much as I did!Show notes: https://sri360.com/podcast/ben-guest/ About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes.Connect with SRI360°:Sign up for the free weekly email updateVisit the SRI360° PODCASTVisit the SRI360° WEBSITEFollow SRI360° on X/TwitterFollow SRI360° on FACEBOOK Key TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Ben Guest's background and career path (02:24)The shift from traditional to sustainable energy investments (15:24)The role of battery storage in renewable energy (38:32)Energy trading and battery management (47:22)Assembling project rights for energy storage infrastructure (52:23)Renewable energy investments and impact metrics (59:55)Primary investors at Gresham House (01:05:58)Risks facing battery energy storage systems investments (01:10:18)Challenges around battery production and usage (01:15:10)Additional ResourcesBen Guest’s LinkedInGresham HouseGresham House New EnergyLazard Asset ManagementHazel Capital InvestmentCantillon Capital Management LLP
Inside Paul Miller's Pioneering 'Tech for Good' VC Investment Strategy (#032)
Jan 29 2024
Inside Paul Miller's Pioneering 'Tech for Good' VC Investment Strategy (#032)
In this episode, I speak with Paul Miller, Managing Partner and CEO at Bethnal Green Ventures, which has invested in over 150 startups that aim to create a more sustainable planet, an inclusive society, and healthy lives. Paul is a trailblazer who spearheaded early-stage impact venture capital investing in the early 2010s at a time when this was highly unusual for VCs to do.He was awarded an Officer of the British Empire award for services to startup investment in 2020.Miller's early exposure to social and environmental issues, thanks to his parents' activism, laid the foundation for a unique perspective later in his career. His stint as a policy advisor at Forum for the Future marked a pivotal period, working on sustainability with tech giants like Amazon and Vodafone.This experience fueled a desire for a more direct impact, leading Miller to venture into the startup scene. In 2006, the School of Everything was born – a groundbreaking attempt to revolutionize adult education. Around 2012, as the School of Everything continued to pioneer adult education, Miller's focus expanded to co-founding Bethnal Green Ventures. Securing an initial investment of approximately £150,000 from Nesta, a UK foundation, Bethnal Green Ventures took flight.Google provided office space, and the venture attracted mentors and contacts to nurture the startups. Paul’s venture into impact venture capital with Bethnal Green Ventures was a pioneering move, especially considering the prevailing industry norms around 2012.At a time when impact investing was in its nascent stages, Paul brought a level of authenticity and maturity to the venture capital landscape.Today, he'll be taking us through his 'Tech for Good’ approach, investing in early-stage companies aiming for both high growth and positive social or environmental impact.I hope you enjoy my conversation with Paul as much as I did! Show notes: https://sri360.com/podcast/paul-miller/About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes.Connect with SRI360°:Sign up for the free weekly email updateVisit the SRI360° PODCASTVisit the SRI360° WEBSITEFollow SRI360° on X/TwitterFollow SRI360° on FACEBOOK Key TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Paul Miller’s academic and professional background (04:29)How Bethnal Green Ventures came about (20:18)Bring a level of authenticity and maturity to venture capital (23:36)An overview of Bethnal Green Ventures (29:33)Tech for Good  Concept (32:22)Theory of Change at Bethnal  (35:00)Impact VC Vs. other impact investing (37:59)Examples of impact investments by Bethnal (50:09)Measuring impact at early-stage businesses (58:38)Role of AI in Tech for Good paradigm (1:08:41) Additional ResourcesBethnal Green VenturesBethnal Green Ventures on LinkedInBethnal Green Ventures on TwitterPaul Miller’s LinkedInSchool of EverythingForum for the FutureDemos
Michael O'Leary on Shareholder Activism, Citizen Capitalism, and Impact Investing in the Consumer Sector (#031)
Jan 15 2024
Michael O'Leary on Shareholder Activism, Citizen Capitalism, and Impact Investing in the Consumer Sector (#031)
In the fast-evolving world of impact investing, few individuals stand out as prominently as Michael O'Leary. Recently appointed as a Partner and Co-Head of L Catterton Impact Fund, Michael has a wealth of experience and a compelling vision for responsible capitalism.Formerly a Managing Director at Engine No. 1, Michael made headlines globally by orchestrating one of the most successful impact-focused activism campaigns in history.Despite holding a mere 0.02% of share capital, Engine No. 1 successfully replaced three members of Exxon's board, underscoring the potency of impact activism.He was also on the founding team of Bain Capital's impact fund and invested in consumer, industrial, and technology companies through Bain Capital's private equity fund.Now, at L Catterton, one of the world's foremost private equity funds specializing in consumer brands, Michael leads the charge in integrating sustainability and impact considerations into the firm's investments. Michael's co-authorship of 'Accountable: The Rise of Citizen Capitalism' further illustrates his commitment to shaping the future of capitalism. The book delves into the promises and challenges of the sustainable investing movement.With a solid educational background, including a BA in Philosophy from Harvard University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Michael combines academic rigor with real-world impact. In this episode, he shared a lot of insights into- Shareholder activism for sustainability and development- Citizen capitalism- Impact investing in the public markets- Impact investing in the consumer sector- And much more.I really learned a lot from my discussion with Michael, and I hope you will too!Show notes: https://sri360.com/podcast/michael-oleary/About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. Connect with SRI360°:Sign up for the free weekly email updateVisit the SRI360° PODCASTVisit the SRI360° WEBSITEFollow SRI360° on X/TwitterFollow SRI360° on FACEBOOKKey TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Michael O'Leary’s background (01:43)Impact investment thesis (11:44)Citizen Capitalism  (14:14)Exxon shareholder activism campaign (30:36)Using shareholder activism for long-term sustainable development (47:33)Does impact investing have any impact on public markets (50:43)Impact investing in the consumer sector (57:22)The biggest challenge to impact investing (01:16:45)Additional ResourcesMichael O'Leary’s LinkedInL Catterton Website Accountable: The Rise of Citizen Capitalism Book and Featured PublicationsOther Links MentionedBain CapitalEngine No. 1Deval PatrickWarren ValdmanisExxonAn ESG Reckoning Is Coming
Demystifying ESG & Impact Investing: How To Create Measurable Change w/ Harald Walkate (#030)
Jan 4 2024
Demystifying ESG & Impact Investing: How To Create Measurable Change w/ Harald Walkate (#030)
In this episode, I am joined by Harald Walkate. Harald isn't just another voice in the sustainability space. He's a seasoned navigator, guiding us across the complex landscape of ESG and impact investing.With 25 years of experience, he's seen both sides of the table, working with major asset managers and corporations. This unique perspective fuels his passion for bridging the gap between good intentions and real-world impact. He's a champion of blended finance, a powerful tool that blends public and private resources to tackle urgent challenges like climate change and poverty.Born in Leiden, Netherlands, Harald Walkate studied law at Leiden University, later venturing into corporate law at Allen & Overy. After obtaining an MBA from the University of Chicago, Harald moved into business development at Bally Total Fitness, then shifted to Aegon, focusing on mergers and acquisitions.At Aegon, he became the Global Head of Responsible Investment, leading to a move to Natixis in 2019 as the Head of ESG. In 2022, he founded Finding Ways Ahead, and in 2023, he initiated Route 17, an SDG funding & blended finance advisory firm.In this enlightening conversation, we explore Harald's insights on ESG, impact investing, and the often misunderstood realm of blended finance.Show notes: https://sri360.com/podcast/harald-walkate/About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes.Connect with SRI360°:Sign up for the free weekly email updateVisit the SRI360° PODCASTVisit the SRI360° WEBSITEFollow SRI360° on X/TwitterFollow SRI360° on FACEBOOKKey TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Harald Walkate’s career journey (02:17)How impact investing can make a difference (14:54)Appreciation of the global financial markets (21:43)Topics most misunderstood in ESG and impact investing (26:27)ESG investing in the US (30:24)The best evidence that the EGS toolkit enhances return (34:35)Measuring the real-world impact of ESG investing (40:14)Sustainable finance vs financing sustainability (43:38)Blended finance for sustainable investing (01:04:51)Additional ResourcesHarald Walkate’s LinkedInRoute17 WebsiteFinding Ways AheadOther Links MentionedAllen and OveryBally Total FitnessAegon Asset ManagementNatixisCenter for Sustainable Finance and Private WealthUniversity of Chicago Booth School of BusinessFinancial Conduct AuthorityMarc AndreessenRobert W. van ZwietenJean Raby10 things every investor should know about Net Zero
Shorting for Change: Nordis Capital's Unique Strategy to Influence ESG Policies in Public Equities w/ François Bourdon (#029)
Dec 18 2023
Shorting for Change: Nordis Capital's Unique Strategy to Influence ESG Policies in Public Equities w/ François Bourdon (#029)
In the world of hedge funds, where the focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors is often considered secondary, Nordis Capital stands out as a pioneer.Born in a small farming town near Montreal, François Bourdon's journey into sustainable investment is as unique as the hedge fund he co-founded. From working in agriculture to earning the moniker "Mr. Risk Manager" on the trading floor, Francois's diverse experiences shaped his path.After pursuing actuarial mathematics at Concordia University, François joined MetLife and later transitioned to risk management. Subsequently, he held diverse roles at Fiera Capital, ultimately becoming Chief Investment Officer.He later joined Sustainable Market Strategies (SMS) with the goal of creating Nordis, a hedge fund built from the ground up around responsible investing.Nordis Capital's mission is to contribute to the fight against climate change and social inequality through sustainable market strategies. What sets them apart is their commitment to long positions aligned with ESG megatrends and their unique approach of taking short positions against companies that fall short on sustainability metrics.Nordis Capital identifies five ESG megatrends that will transform economies and societies, forming the basis of their investment approach.Tune in to this episode to learn more about François Bourdon's journey and how Nordis Capital is pioneering responsible investing in the hedge fund landscape.Show notes: https://sri360.com/podcast/francois-bourdon/About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes.Connect with SRI360°:Sign up for the free weekly email updateVisit the SRI360° PODCASTVisit the SRI360° WEBSITEFollow SRI360° on X/TwitterFollow SRI360° on FACEBOOKKey TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Bourdon's journey into SRI (02:30)Nordis Capital's mission and strategies (18:31)Who are the investors of Nordis (21:29)5 ESG megatrends  (26:14)Nordis investment process (36:27)Double materiality analysis (47:08)Why are other players not pricing ESG (50:30)How sustainable investing impacts corporate behavior (53:40)The future of sustainable investing (01:00:27)Additional ResourcesFrançois Bourdon’s FacebookFrançois Bourdon’s LinkedInFrançois Bourdon’s Email: fbourdon@nordiscapital.comNordis Capital's WebsiteOther Links mentioned in this episode:Fiera CapitalMetLifeSustainable Market StrategiesAtlantis Capital GroupFrançois Boutin-DufresneFelix-A.BoudreaultThe Fourth Turning  by Neil HoweVIX futures
Working Capital Fund's Fight Against Labor Exploitation in Global Supply Chains (#028)
Dec 4 2023
Working Capital Fund's Fight Against Labor Exploitation in Global Supply Chains (#028)
In this episode, we explore Ed Marcum's unique journey from Santa Cruz to leading the charge against labor exploitation as the Managing Director of Working Capital Fund.Marcum's career choices were heavily influenced by his parents' commitment to social activism. After studying political science at UC Berkeley, Marcum had a brief but impactful tennis career, instilling in him lessons of resilience and hard work.Following his tennis stint, Marcum recognized the need to integrate business skills into mission-driven work. Pursuing an MBA at Wharton broadened his skill set, opening the door to impact investing. This transition began at the Omidyar Network, working for Pierre & Pam Omidyar and focusing on human rights issues.Within Humanity United, Marcum spearheaded efforts against labor exploitation in multinational companies' supply chains. Identifying technological innovations to tackle supply chain issues, Marcum laid the groundwork for the Working Capital Fund. Initially incubated within Humanity United, the fund became an independent entity in 2020, marking a pivotal moment in its evolution.They invest in startups offering scalable solutions to enhance supply chain accountability, promoting a more equitable and sustainable global supply chain ecosystem. Marcum highlights a significant change in recent years – the global push for supply chain transparency. Companies must now take responsibility for knowing who is in their supply chain and ensuring responsible practices. This shift creates a vast and growing market for investments aimed at improving transparency and accountability.I enjoyed my discussion with Ed and learned a lot about the dark side of global supply chains.Please enjoy!Show notes: https://sri360.com/podcast/ed-marcum/About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes.Connect with SRI360°:Sign up for the free weekly email updateVisit the SRI360° PODCASTVisit the SRI360° WEBSITEFollow SRI360° on X/TwitterFollow SRI360° on FACEBOOKKey TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Ed Marcum's career journey (02:43)Working Capital Fund (09:39)Who is in the global supply chains? (16:30)The scale of the labor exploitation problem (21:27)What constitutes labor exploitation (24:34)Working Capital Fund's theory of change (28:20)How Working Capital Fund deploys capital (39:49)Investment selection process for the fund (41:33)Red flags to look out for in supply chains (55:03)Outro (01:06:29)Additional ResourcesEd Marcum’s LinkedInWorking Capital Fund Twitter/XCompany WebsiteOther links mentioned in this episodeGlobal Education PartnershipHumanity First InitiativeOmidyar NetworkPierre OmidyarPam OmidyarHumanity UnitedSave Darfur Advocacy Movement
Andrew Behar on Unleashing the Power of Shareholder Advocacy to Drive Change (#027)
Nov 20 2023
Andrew Behar on Unleashing the Power of Shareholder Advocacy to Drive Change (#027)
Andrew Behar, the CEO of As You Sow, is a well-known advocate for shareholder advocacy. With a rich background in documentary filmmaking, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation, he brings a unique perspective to shareholder advocacy.Behar's journey as a shareholder advocate was influenced by his personal experiences. Growing up near Long Island Sound in Connecticut, he witnessed the environmental impact of industry on his surroundings. These early observations of environmental degradation left a lasting impression on him.Before dedicating himself to shareholder advocacy, Behar explored entrepreneurial endeavors, including a medical device company that earned him five patents and demonstrated his commitment to using technology for positive change.Behar then transitioned to As You Sow in 2010. As CEO of a nonprofit organization, he began advocating for values-aligned investing and using shareholder influence to drive corporate responsibility.Behar emphasizes that As You Sow practices shareholder advocacy, which focuses on engaging with companies to improve their practices. Shareholder activism, on the other hand, often involves taking over boards or liquidating companies, a different approach that doesn't align with As You Sow's goals.The core philosophy of As You Sow is to compel companies to reduce material risks on various issues, including climate change, diversity, equity, inclusion, and more. Under Behar's leadership, As You Sow has developed valuable tools to empower shareholders, including the Investor Value Tool and As You Vote Tool.The goal is to create a win-win situation where companies make responsible decisions that benefit all stakeholders.In this episode, we'll explore Behar's journey and the core principles of shareholder engagement, shedding light on how it works, where it falls short, and how it can be improved. I really learned a lot from my discussion with Andrew, and I hope you will too!Show notes: https://sri360.com/podcast/andrew-beharAbout the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, I interview a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. In my interviews, I cover everything from their early personal journeys to insights on how they developed and executed their investment strategies and what challenges they face today. Each episode is a chance to go way below the surface with these impressive people and gain additional insights and useful lessons from professional investors. Connect with SRI360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update: https://sri360.com/newsletter/Visit the SRI360° PODCAST: https://sri360.com/podcast/Visit the SRI360° WEBSITE: https://sri360.com/Follow SRI360° on X: https://twitter.com/SRI360Growth/Follow SRI360° on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SRI360Growth/Key TakeawaysIntro (00:00)Andrew's journey into shareholder advocacy (06:55)Our rights as shareholders (15:31)The concept of materiality in advocacy (22:18)Investor Values and As You Vote Tools (25:23)Shareholder activism vs shareholder advocacy (38:48)Successful engagement campaigns (45:38)As You Sow escalation process (50:31)Driving change amidst culture wars (01:03:44)Is Shareholder Advocacy always a win-win (01:04:38)What asset managers need to do differently (01:08:54)Disclosure issues with private equity (01:20:17)
25 Years of Biodiversity Impact Investing in Latin America, Empowering Communities with a Women-Run Fund | Tammy Newmark, EcoEnterprises Fund (#026)
Nov 8 2023
25 Years of Biodiversity Impact Investing in Latin America, Empowering Communities with a Women-Run Fund | Tammy Newmark, EcoEnterprises Fund (#026)
In this episode, I am speaking with Tammy Newmark, CEO and Managing Partner of EcoEnterprises Fund. Billed as ‘An Investment Fund for Nature’, EcoEnterprises Fund has pioneered investing in small businesses in Latin America that preserve the integrity of natural capital while contributing to local economies and biodiversity.Originally an “East Coast Girl”, Tammy completed her undergraduate studies at Smith College in Massachusetts in the US. Following her studies, a desire to move to New York and her mother’s serendipitous cocktail party meet led to Tammy working at JP Morgan Chase, which was her first step into the world of finance. Tammy then went on to study for an MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, before moving to Washington DC, where she worked for the International Finance Corporation.Tammy has been a pioneer and a leader in the impact investing space for over thirty years, and in this episode we join her impact journey, starting at the IFC, moving on to a start-up venture fund, the Environmental Enterprises Assistance Fund, then to Technoserve and finally The Nature Conservancy, where the EcoEnterprises Fund was first launched by Tammy in 1998, before spinning off as an independent women-run investment manager in 2010.In this episode, we discover more about EcoEnterprises Fund, their mission and why they focus solely on Latin America. We hear about their typical investor profile and what attracts them to natural capital. We discuss EcoEnterprises Fund’s investment process and the screens and due-diligence used when verifying investments and why they only invest in companies that have working partnerships with local communities, to ensure a vested interest among all stakeholders for the long-term sustainability of natural resources.Tammy provides some real-life examples of companies that the EcoEnterprises Fund have invested in and how they have made an impact. We talk about potential problems with transparency in supply chain, impact washing, and of course, no episode would be complete without my rapid-fire questions.I really enjoyed this insightful discussion with Tammy, and I hope you enjoy it too!About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, Scott Arnell interviews a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. In my interviews, I cover everything from their early personal journeys—and what motivated and attracted them to commit their life energy to SRI—to insights on how they developed and executed their investment strategies and what challenges they face today. Connect with SRI 360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update: https://sri360.com/newsletter/ Visit the SRI 360° PODCAST: https://sri360.com/podcast/ Visit the SRI 360° WEBSITE: https://sri360.com/ Follow SRI 360° on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SRI360Growth/Follow SRI 360° on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SRI360Growth/
How Lendlease Creates Sustainability Real Estate Returns, Positive Social Impact, Spaces Where Communities Thrive, Journey to Carbon Net Zero & More | Micah Schulz, Lendlease (#025)
Oct 20 2023
How Lendlease Creates Sustainability Real Estate Returns, Positive Social Impact, Spaces Where Communities Thrive, Journey to Carbon Net Zero & More | Micah Schulz, Lendlease (#025)
In this episode, I am chatting with Micah Schulz, Head of Office at Lendlease Australia.Micah grew up on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, in a farming area, and living on what he describes as a ‘hobby farm’, with horses, cows, and chickens.  He studied Business Management, majoring in Real Estate & Development at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, a decision which could perhaps be attributed to serendipity, rather than a lifelong desire to work in this field.  Having thought about a career in Physiotherapy, he was advised against this by a Physiotherapist, who told him the latter was boring and would destroy his hands! At the time, his now brother-in-law was working as a real estate valuer, and the idea of travelling around (and the idea of working in an office on the beach like his brother-in-law!) led Micah to the idea of a career in this field.Following a season on the slopes of Whistler, B.C., Micah began his career at Colliers International, working as Sales Assistant to the sales team.  Micah recounts how his then-boss planted the idea to work as a fund manager and eventually, he moved to Sydney as Assistant Fund Manager at Investa Property Group.  He later landed in his first Fund Manager role at Centuria Capital, but returned to Investa when he was offered the opportunity to work on Investa’s flagship wholesale office fund, attracted by the idea of working with a broader portfolio of large, prominent assets around the country.Micah shares how he finally landed at Lendlease in 2016, motivated by the scale of their organisation and its global presence, as well as key elements of the strategy of the APPF Commercial fund on which he worked, first as Deputy Fund Manager, and later as Fund Manager.In this episode, we hear more about Micah’s transition into the sustainable real estate investment space.  Micah gives us an overview of Lendlease and how creating powerful outcomes for the end customer is a key part of their strategy.  We hear how sustainability is part of Lendlease’s DNA, and this becomes clear as Micah discusses some of the real-life developments that Lendlease have driven, such as the Barangaroo Precinct in Sydney’s central business district.We discuss the journey to net carbon zero within the real estate space, and Micah shares his optimism on the impact that technological innovation will have on this journey.  We talk about Lendlease’s typical investors, their screening and due-diligence process, and much more.Micah’s passion in his field is clear and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation.  I hope you will too!About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, Scott Arnell interviews a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. In my interviews, I cover everything from their early personal journeys—and what motivated and attracted them to commit their life energy to SRI—to insights on how they developed and executed their investment strategies and what challenges they face today. Connect with SRI 360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update: https://sri360.com/newsletter/ Visit the SRI 360° PODCAST: https://sri360.com/podcast/ Visit the SRI 360° WEBSITE: https://sri360.com/ Follow SRI 360° on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SRI360Growth/Follow SRI 360° on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SRI360Growth/
How Ambienta Invests in Environmental Sustainability for Top-Decile Private Equity Returns | Stefano Bacci, Partner & ESG Manager (#024)
Oct 4 2023
How Ambienta Invests in Environmental Sustainability for Top-Decile Private Equity Returns | Stefano Bacci, Partner & ESG Manager (#024)
In this episode, I sit down with Stefano Bacci, Partner and ESG Manager at Ambienta, a private equity asset manager that was purpose-built to pursue environmental sustainability investing in resource efficiency and pollution control. Ambienta is the largest private equity fund manager in Europe dedicated to investing entirely in environmental sustainability.Stefano grew up in Milan, (despite maintaining that he is culturally from Tuscany!). When choosing his career path, he was advised by his parents – both chemists – not to follow in their footsteps if he ever wanted to make any money (!) which led him to study Chemical Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano. He then went on to complete a PhD in Physical Chemistry at the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany.Stefano’s early career took him to Switzerland where he worked for Ciba-Geigy (later acquired by BASF) in numeric modelling. Five years later, a chance conversation with a fellow graduate from his Ciba-Geigy induction period led him to study for an MBA, starting in Helsinki, then transferring to MIT in Boston.Following his MBA, Stefano spent ten years working in consultancy at the Boston Consultancy Group, which brought him back home to Milan for a year, then on to Stockholm, then to Helsinki where he set up the BCG office and finally to Germany where he spent several years working in the run-up to the ‘dotcom bubble’. It was at this juncture in his life that he decided to switch to investment management and began working at Palamon Capital Partners, where he spent several years, before returning to Italy to work with Ambienta.In this episode, Stefano takes us on a journey from his studies in chemical engineering right through to the point when Ambienta co-founders Nino Tronchetti Provera and Rolando Polli convinced him that sustainability was the way forward.  We learn more about these two people who inspired him in his early days at Ambienta and how his passion for sustainability has grown over the years.  We discuss how Ambienta considers sustainability and ESG as two very different things, and how they invest in businesses where resources are used more efficiently in order to reduce pollution, waste in landfills and improve air and water quality.  We discuss how Ambienta measures the impact of their investments, their typical investors, why sustainability is primary in their investment selection, and much more.I really learned a lot chatting with Stefano, whose passion for environmental sustainability is clear. I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation!About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, Scott Arnell interviews a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. In my interviews, I cover everything from their early personal journeys—and what motivated and attracted them to commit their life energy to SRI—to insights on how they developed and executed their investment strategies and what challenges they face today. Each episode is a chance to go way below the surface with these impressive people and gain additional insights and useful lessons from professional investors. Connect with SRI 360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update: https://sri360.com/newsletter/ Visit the SRI 360° PODCAST: https://sri360.com/podcast/ Visit the SRI 360° WEBSITE: https://sri360.com/ Follow SRI 360° on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SRI360Growth/Follow SRI 360° on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SRI360Growth/
The Power of ESG Shorting: How Investing in Sovereign Bonds Impacts Government Policy, BlueBay's Impact-Aligned Bond Fund, and More | Mark Dowding, BlueBay Asset Management (#023)
Sep 18 2023
The Power of ESG Shorting: How Investing in Sovereign Bonds Impacts Government Policy, BlueBay's Impact-Aligned Bond Fund, and More | Mark Dowding, BlueBay Asset Management (#023)
Mark Dowding is Chief Investment Officer at BlueBay Asset Management. Mark is a macro fixed income specialist who meets regularly in that context with global policymakers and has been actively involved in sovereign ESG engagement. He began his career in 1993 as a fixed income portfolio manager, after earning his economics degree at the University of Warwick.In today’s episode, Mark speaks about his early career, how he came to be the Head of Global Fixed Income at Invesco at only 28 years of age, his move to Frankfurt to work with Deutsche Asset Management and why he chose to move with his family back to the UK, where he joined BlueBay Asset Management in 2010.We discuss his time at the University of Warwick and whether Warwick lives up to its title of the happiest place to live in Britain!  Mark tells us about his love of football and his support of Chelsea F.C. and then we move onto the more serious stuff, with an overview of BlueBay and Mark’s role as Chief Investment Officer.We hear how BlueBay incorporates ESG criteria into all of their investment decisions, and how they have incorporated ESG analysis into their investment teams rather than structuring it as a separate research function.  Mark shares real life examples of their engagement activities with sovereign issuers, how they have shorted bonds of issuers who they perceive as performing poorly from an ESG perspective and how their investing strategies in sovereign bonds have impacted government policy and behavior.No fixed income ESG discussion would be complete without talking about greenwashing, and we discuss to what extent this practice exists at the sovereign level.  We speak about BlueBay’s Impact Aligned Bond Fund and finally, I quiz Mark with some rapid fire questions such as the single most important challenge in the fixed income space, and his advice on how to get into the sustainable fixed income space.I thoroughly enjoyed this insightful discussion with Mark and I hope you will too!About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, Scott Arnell interviews a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. In my interviews, I cover everything from their early personal journeys—and what motivated and attracted them to commit their life energy to SRI—to insights on how they developed and executed their investment strategies and what challenges they face today. Each episode is a chance to go way below the surface with these impressive people and gain additional insights and useful lessons from professional investors. Connect with SRI 360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update: https://sri360.com/newsletter/ Visit the SRI 360° PODCAST: https://sri360.com/podcast/ Visit the SRI 360° WEBSITE: https://sri360.com/ Follow SRI 360° on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SRI360Growth/Follow SRI 360° on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SRI360Growth/
High Yield Sustainable Fixed Income: How SDGs + Engagement outperform index, deliver positive change to society & environment | Mitch Reznick | Head of Sustainable Fixed Income, Federated Hermes (#022)
Aug 25 2023
High Yield Sustainable Fixed Income: How SDGs + Engagement outperform index, deliver positive change to society & environment | Mitch Reznick | Head of Sustainable Fixed Income, Federated Hermes (#022)
Mitch Reznick is the Head of Sustainable Fixed Income at Federated Hermes and the Co-Portfolio Manager of the company’s SDG Engagement High Yield Credit Fund.  With over 23 years experience in the corporate credit industry, he was previously the Co-Head of Credit Research for the global credit team at Fortis Investments, and prior to that was an associate analyst in the leveraged finance group at Moodys Investors Service in New York.Mitch has a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, a Bachelor’s in history from Pitzer College and is a CFA charterholder.  He is Co-Chair of the Federated Hermes Sustainability Investment Centre and holds several advocacy roles, including founding board member of the European Leveraged Finance Association (ELFA); Co-Chair of the Credit Risk and Ratings Advisory Committee at the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and workstream member CFO Coalition for the SDGs of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). Formerly, Mitch was Co-Chair of the Capital Markets Advisory Committee of the IFRS Foundation; member of the Sovereign Working Group (PRI); workstream member of the UK-China Green Finance Task Force; and served on the Green Finance Advisory of the City of London.In today’s episode, Mitch recounts that it was early in his career while working in the leveraged finance team at Moody’s that he fell in love with finance in general and specifically with the high yield corporate credit world. He later moved to London as a high yield fund manager for Fortis Investments and then left in 2008 for Federated Hermes as part of a team hired to rebuild the credit business in the wake of the global financial crisis.Mitch discusses how early on he observed that Federated Hermes was well-placed to bring sustainable fixed income solutions to the market and since then he has been focused on ESG integration and building investment solutions that deliver financial returns while delivering positive change for society and the environment with engagement being the catalyst.  Mitch describes in detail the Federated Hermes SDG Engagement High Yield Credit Fund which he is Co-Manager. He discuss at length the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and what they mean in the fixed income space.We talk about greenwashing, ‘greeniums’, ‘step-ups’, transition bonds and much more.Mitch is active on a number of technical working groups and work streams that are currently developing the connection between sustainability and fixed income investments. As a representative of a large investor in the fixed income space, he is very much in the flow of this evolution and represents the current thinking on the subject.About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, Scott Arnell interviews a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. In my interviews, I cover everything from their early personal journeys—and what motivated and attracted them to commit their life energy to SRI—to insights on how they developed and executed their investment strategies and what challenges they face today. Each episode is a chance to go way below the surface with these impressive people and gain additional insights and useful lessons from professional investors. Connect with SRI 360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update: https://sri360.com/newsletter/ Visit the SRI 360° PODCAST: https://sri360.com/podcast/ Visit the SRI 360° WEBSITE: https://sri360.com/ Follow SRI 360° on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SRI360Growth/Follow SRI 360° on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SRI360Growth/
AI-Enabled Sustainable Investing: The Mainstreaming of ESG, How AI & ESG Analytics Are Revolutionizing Sustainability & Investing | Daniel Klier, ESG book (#021)
Aug 9 2023
AI-Enabled Sustainable Investing: The Mainstreaming of ESG, How AI & ESG Analytics Are Revolutionizing Sustainability & Investing | Daniel Klier, ESG book (#021)
Daniel Klier is CEO at ESG Book, part of the Arabesque Group, a global group of financial technology companies offering sustainable investment, advisory and data services through their advanced ESG and AI capabilities. Prior to joining Arabesque, Daniel was Global Head of Sustainable Finance for HSBC, where he developed the global climate strategy for the bank and led the development of the sustainable finance business across the corporate bank, retail bank, and asset management business. He joined HSBC in 2013 as Group Head of Strategy in London, following nine years as a Partner at McKinsey & Company.Daniel is a member of the Board of Sustainable Energy for All and has also chaired the Bank of England Climate Risk Working Group and the Sustainable Finance Working Group at the Institute of International Finance.At the time of our discussion, Daniel was CEO of Arabesque S-Ray, the predecessor to ESG Book, so when we refer to Arabesque S-Ray in our discussion, we’re essentially talking about what is now ESG Book.  In this episode, we talk about how Daniel came into the world of sustainable finance from a more traditional private equity and financial services background.  We hear an overview of Arabesque and their mission to mainstream sustainable finance and we discuss what quantitative investing actually means.Daniel explains more about what was, at the time of our discussion, the Arabesque S-Ray artificial intelligence platform and how it allows companies to customize their investment strategies. We look at greenwashing in the public equities landscape and how Arabesque protect against this in the algorithms used in their AI technology.  We discuss how Arabesque S-Ray differs from competing ESG data providers, and Daniel introduces us to the ESG Book initiative, which at that time had not yet been launched.About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, Scott Arnell interviews a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. In my interviews, I cover everything from their early personal journeys—and what motivated and attracted them to commit their life energy to SRI—to insights on how they developed and executed their investment strategies and what challenges they face today. Each episode is a chance to go way below the surface with these impressive people and gain additional insights and useful lessons from professional investors. Connect with SRI 360°: Sign up for the free weekly email update: https://sri360.com/newsletter/ Visit the SRI 360° PODCAST: https://sri360.com/podcast/ Visit the SRI 360° WEBSITE: https://sri360.com/ Follow SRI 360° on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SRI360Growth/Follow SRI 360° on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SRI360Growth/