Posts Categorized: Enhanced Analytics

Giving Fiduciaries a Hand with Infrastructure Due Diligence

About five years ago a large number of planners, designers, architects, and engineers were gathered at a conference hosted by the Zofnass Program for Sustainability at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. The theme of the conference was Infrastructure Sustainability. There were more than a dozen distinguished speakers including a director of research for a prominent rating agency. His remarks were preceded by panels of experts in sustainable design. Each speaker, including the author of this article, was convinced that they were doing their part to change the world, one high-impact infrastructure project at a time. It was a love-fest.

The Importance of Sustainable SMEs and the Role of Women Leading this Movement

As a female entrepreneur leading a social good startup focused on growing the global marketplace for sustainable products and services through data and insights, I’ve been amazed at how many women I’ve met who are now engaged in leading values-based companies focused on one or more facets of sustainability. And by incorporating an emergent social impact business model, they are not using traditional non-profit structures to do so, but are instead integrating these values in for-profit companies that leverage capitalism for good, which I fully embrace.

Women-Led SMEs and the Finance Challenge

Women represent a powerful source of economic growth and opportunity. They produce more than half of the world’s food and control about $20 trillion in consumer spending. However, financial exclusion holds back many women from participating in the economy and from improving their lives and those of their families.

Women in emerging markets face a range of barriers and constraints to benefiting fully from financial services. The Global Findex, a comprehensive database measuring how people save, borrow, and manage risk in 148 countries . . .

Sustainable Agriculture: What Drives Investor Decisions?

Sustainable agriculture ensures that production keeps up with both demographic changes and resource scarcity while providing economic development and investment portfolio growth. And agricultural production is big business, encompassing land, equipment, crop inputs (chemicals and seeds), expert production (farmers maximizing crop yields), value-added processing, and sales and distribution.  Agricultural sustainability depends on a number of… Read more »

Not Just a ‘Flash,’ But a Call to Arms

I was still at the Securities and Exchange Commission, overseeing the Division of Trading and Markets, when I first heard about a small band of traders and technology experts at the Royal Bank of Canada who were using technology to tilt the playing field back in favor of ordinary investors. I could hardly have imagined… Read more »

Confirmation Bias in the Investment Process

The ancient Greek historian, Thucydides, wrote, “It is a habit of mankind . . . to use sovereign reason to thrust aside what they do not fancy.” The phenomenon to which he speaks manifests itself in all walks of life, from politics to religion and investing. Today, this concept is termed “confirmation bias” and refers to the tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses….

Top Sports, Media & Entertainment Brands: A Focus on ESG Metrics

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION Since 2009, Bloomberg has been uploading key corporate ESG metrics to its database from companies’ own financial and sustainability reports. They have over 800 data points – 10 to 12 are considered key ESG metrics for all companies to disclose to the capital markets.  Sustainability… Read more »

Let’s Dance: The Virtuous Cycle of Creativity

Mom and Dad would be proud. It only took 24 years from when I received my Bachelor of Music degree to locate the convergence between fine arts and sustainable finance. Sustainable practices in entertainment and media are perhaps not as obviously critical as they might be in extractive industries, food services, or manufacturing. What is… Read more »

Where Should “Human Capital” Fit in the Sustainability Agenda?

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION  If people are a firm’s “most important asset” – as CEOs repeatedly proclaim – why are they only reported as costs? What are the problems caused by this mismatch, and what would ameliorate them? In light of this, what actions can and… Read more »

Going Deep: Measurement Systems at the Product Level

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION. In a world of big data, radical transparency for corporations and sustainability reporting on the rise, we should see a major shift in how businesses are tackling the most intractable environmental and social issues, as well as a rapid pace of progress… Read more »

Filling the Infrastructure Data Gap in Impact Investing

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE APRIL 2014 EDITION. The OECD estimates USD 53 trillion in investment or the equivalent of an annual 2.5% of global GDP by the year 2030, to meet demand for infrastructure investment by 2030. Those numbers are so large and intimidating that most people are tempted… Read more »

CBA-BIM Using Established Tools to Achieve Standard for Infrastructure Project Valuation and Risk Assessment

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE APRIL 2014 EDITION. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is changing the planning, design, building, and operation of infrastructure. When Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) is added to BIM investors get both transparency of value and understanding of risks in complex infrastructure projects. CBA-BIM has the potential to… Read more »

ESG & Credit Risk: New Study Demonstrates a Clear Link

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MARCH 2014 EDITION. Using data contributed by RepRisk, a Swiss-based ESG business intelligence provider, the authors examined the effect of CSR-related negative media attention on credit default swap spreads.  According to the study, companies that are criticized in the news for irresponsible ESG practices have… Read more »

A New Approach to Looking at ESG Risk at the Country Level – Using Brazil as an Example

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, December 2013, written by Alexandra Mihailescu Chichon,Head of Business Development, RepRisk AG, and Anna Tuson, Media and Communications Lead, RepRisk AG. As in all investment decisions, but even more critical when emerging markets are concerned, comprehensive research and timely information about what’s happening on the… Read more »

A Zero Sum Game: Assessing Water Risks in China’s Mega Infrastructure

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, November 2013, written by Cyrus Lotfipour, Emily Chew, and Shuyuan Jin, MSCI ESG Research, a leading provider of in-depth environmental, social& governance research, ratings and analysis, with more than 150 ESG specialists worldwide. Water Scarcity poses an operational risk to companies in the metals, mining,… Read more »

A New Value Driver Framework

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, October 2013, written by David Lubin, Managing Director of S3, and retired as Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Renaissance Worldwide. He served as lead contributor to the UNGC in development of the report entitled, The Value Driver Model – A Tool for Communicating the Business… Read more »