Author and futurist Alex Salkever, formerly Marketing Communications Manager at Mozilla, spoke at the Financial Women’s Association’s May 9 Summit “The Future of Work.” The presentation, “The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Can Change the Future” addressed the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation with human employees in the workplace.

Mr. Salkever pointed out that AI is better than humans at certain tasks and will take over parts of our jobs.  For example, AI is already used for specific, repetitive tasks such as figuring out credit ratings or transcribing multi-person conference calls. AI can learn and recognize faster than humans in narrow applications such as voice or image recognition. This is referred to “weak or narrow” AI, which represents over 99% of AI tasks today.

The future of AI is referred to as “strong” AI, where the computer acts like a human brain and learns a task from scratch using creative thinking. Experts in the field predict that this type of AI could become available in another 40 years, perhaps sooner. One early example of strong AI is AlphaGo. This program essentially taught itself to play the game of Go, and went on to beat one of the best professional human players of Go without handicaps in a five-game match. Another example is a four-legged robot created by a Columbia University engineer. The robot learned to walk and when one of its legs was cut off, it relearned how to walk on three legs.

Mr. Salkever opined that parts of jobs in various industries, including finance, will disappear as AI takes over rote tasks, but that other jobs will be created. He cited the case of “Flippy,” a robot introduced at Caliburger restaurant in California in 2017. Flippy was intended to handle the hot, dirty, repetitive task of grilling, leaving employees to complete the orders and interact with customers. The robot’s introduction did not go as smoothly as planned – Flippy was so fast that the restaurant needed to add more workers. Flippy wasn’t intended to replace people but rather to serve as “extra hands” at the grill. Ultimately, Flippy’s creators hope to introduce Flippy into 50 Caliburgers.

In finance, AI also does rote spreadsheet work and generates visual content. Mr. Salkever noted that at Goldman Sachs, 25% of employees are now computer engineers, many of whom work on creating AI and algorithms for processes and investing. Mr. Salkever claims that AI is good at buy and sell stock recommendations based on pattern recognition (technical analysis) and is cheaper than humans since it requires no benefits or bonus. Robo-advisors such as Acorn, Betterment and Wealthfront use algorithms and AI to invest customers’ money in ETFs, primarily index-oriented funds, thus cutting out the middle-man broker. Mr. Salkever also discussed a company that uses AI to automate bank processes such as credit, fraud detection, settlement and underwriting. Additionally, this technology can be used in in legal services and insurance. He notes that economic desks at brokerage firms use AI for portfolio construction.

In human resources, Mr. Salkever discussed Textio — an algorithm which creates less biased job descriptions versus its human counterparts. However, he cautions, algorithms can inherit the biases of their creators.

In a nod to human ingenuity, Mr. Salkever notes that AI is not good at collaboration, teamwork, people skills, creative problem solving, non-linear thinking, relationship building and management. It appears that there’s hope for the human race.

Trust:

• assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
• dependence on something future or contingent: hope
• reliance on future payment for property (such as merchandise) delivered

A ‘trustless’ technology

In the view of blockchain proponents, one of the technology’s major advantages is that it doesn’t require trust to conduct transactions. In today’s world, transactions require trust or, in the place of trust, intermediaries, which exist to facilitate the transaction, record the details, and serve as guarantors that each party has sufficient assets. However, intermediaries cannot always be trusted, as illustrated by the “Byzantine Generals problem,” an oft-cited analogy used to explain blockchain . Proponents argue that blockchain removes the need for trust and thus also removes the need for intermediaries.

Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency application of blockchain technology, aimed to resolve concerns about the trustworthiness of financial intermediaries by creating a “trustless” system . Two inherent components of trust are vulnerability and expectation: there is a possibility for disappointment, but both parties accept the risk because they believe in a positive outcome . Bitcoin developers suggest that it can reduce reliance on trust by reducing the risk of disappointment.
This may be true if one takes a narrow view of the transformative quality of the blockchain. Our analysis suggests that blockchain technology may not reduce the need for trust so much as shift the burden of trust.

How does blockchain shift trust?

The focus on blockchain has been on ensuring that parties complete their transactions and that transactions are immutably recorded. However, we argue that trust is still a factor outside of the immediate transaction environment. To illustrate, we’ll use the trading of renewable energy certificates, which currently requires multiple steps.

Traditionally, a certificate-creating regulator must verify the validity of the renewable energy generator, while brokers aggregate certificates from the generators and link buyers and sellers. A simplified diagram of this process is shown below in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Current renewable energy trading (stylized)

Source: Cornerstone Capital Group

Proponents of blockchain renewable energy trading argue that no “trust” or intermediary is necessary because the technology allows parties to trade directly, and only when both parties have their assets ready. As shown in Figure 2, the renewable energy generator links sensors to a blockchain-enabled ledger. As each MWh of renewable energy is generated, the ledger updates its records with a new certificate, recorded as a digital token. Buyers can source certificates by buying tokens, and the transaction history is recorded on the blockchain ledger.

However, this argument looks at the renewable energy trading system through the narrow lens of immediate transaction mechanics. The broader “transaction ecosystem” still requires trust:

Figure 2: Blockchain-enabled trading system

Source: Rocky Mountain Institute, Cornerstone Capital Group

The ecosystem, therefore, looks more like Figure 3. In this diagram, the proposed blockchain renewable energy trading shifts the “burden of trust” from transaction intermediaries to parties outside the enclosed system. This shift might transfer responsibility to entities that are not prepared, which could be particularly dangerous as the blockchain purposefully does not allow for arbitration or the undoing of transactions. For example, a buyer who spends financial resources on a certificate from a generator who is improperly audited may have no means of recourse. Once the transaction is executed, it is recorded and unable to be undone or negotiated.

Figure 3: Cornerstone’s assessment of blockchain renewable energy tradingSource: Cornerstone Capital Group

Our assessment raises questions for investors in blockchain-enabled applications, as well as more mainstream investors assessing how to improve efficiency of trading. The ability of the technology to set the boundaries of the transaction environment may create as much complexity and risk as it resolves. At what point does it become prohibitively expensive to expand the scope of technological control to remove the need for trust? Is the need for trust such a significant drag on the economy or society?

These questions around how trust is shifted and at what cost apply beyond the current discussions of Bitcoin and blockchain bubbles. Investors across the market may benefit from assessing the relative cost versus efficiency of redistributing the responsibilities of trust outside the immediate transaction environment. A narrow view may position investors for unforeseen consequences, including negated efficiency gains or failure to deploy blockchain technology in the most valuable way.

Efficiency in shifting trust

Blockchain proponents speak of a future facilitated by trustless systems. Our assessment, currently, is that blockchain does not reduce the need for trust but rather shifts the burden of trust beyond the scope of the actual transaction. This may increase the efficiency of the immediate transaction, while moving intermediary roles to the edges of the transaction system. New responsibilities may be transferred to intermediaries who are unprepared or create bottlenecks. Investors purely focused on transaction-level trust may not be aware of the risks the might arise from such shifts.

Value in shifting trust

Investors interested in reducing the trust involved in transactions should determine whether the application is focused on the core vulnerability within the system. For renewable energy trading in particular, we view monitoring and auditing of the generators as a key vulnerability. At this point, blockchain-supported renewable energy does not address these concerns. The system still relies on trusting a third-party auditor or a set of sensors to ensure that the renewable energy is valid. Blockchain applications that address the critical issues in a trading system are likely to be more strongly positioned.

Click here to download the report and for important disclosures.

Emma Currier is a Research Associate at Cornerstone Capital Group. Emma graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from Brown University in May 2016. While at school, she worked with the Socially Responsible Investing Fund and as a teaching assistant for the Public Health and Economics departments. She spent her sophomore summer researching differences between American and Indian educational styles in Arunachal Pradesh, India, and completed a summer investment bank analyst position with Citi in the Media & Telecom group in 2015.

Sebastian Vanderzeil is Director, Global Thematic Research Analyst with Cornerstone Capital Group. He holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Previously, Sebastian was an economic consultant with global technical services group AECOM, where he advised on the development and finance of major infrastructure across Asia and Australia. Sebastian also worked with the Queensland State Government on water and climate issues prior to establishing Australia’s first government-owned carbon broker, Ecofund Queensland.

Executive Summary:

A blockchain taxonomy for investors. Blockchain technology is being used in a growing diversity of applications, offering a complex array of investment opportunities. While the technology is so new that any investment in it is speculative, patterns of use are emerging. In this report, we propose a taxonomy to enable investors to more quickly and effectively understand individual blockchain applications’ key attributes and to assess how blockchain technology will be used in the near and medium term. To illustrate use of the taxonomy, we apply the indicators to several blockchain applications that range in investment, purpose, and launch date, including Bitcoin, EOS, Tezos, Ethereum and Provenance.

Figure 1: Blockchain taxonomySource: Cornerstone Capital Group

What does the taxonomy tell us?

Our view. We remain skeptical about the ability for blockchain to replace existing non-digital transaction processes without clearer demonstrations of benefits to a wide range of users. However, blockchain is gaining traction within communities and marketplaces focused on the technology-enabled.

Download the full report here.

 

Sebastian Vanderzeil is a Global Thematic Research Analyst with Cornerstone Capital Group. He holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Previously, Sebastian was an economic consultant with global technical services group AECOM, where he advised on the development and finance of major infrastructure across Asia and Australia. Sebastian also worked with the Queensland State Government on water and climate issues prior to establishing Australia’s first government-owned carbon broker, Ecofund Queensland.

Emma Currier is a Research Associate at Cornerstone Capital Group. Emma graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from Brown University in May 2016. While at school, she worked with the Socially Responsible Investing Fund and as a teaching assistant for the Public Health and Economics departments. She spent her sophomore summer researching differences between American and Indian educational styles in Arunachal Pradesh, India, and completed a summer investment bank analyst position with Citi in the Media & Telecom group in 2015.

Overview

Theory and politics. The blockchain and related innovations represent a new and relatively complex set of potential investment opportunities. The technology has received significant attention from a range of individuals and institutions, from computer scientists to corporations to private equity groups. We outline the theory of the technology as well as the governance implications to guide investors.

Disruptive opportunity. Advocates of the blockchain believe it has tremendous potential to enable novel ways of creating, managing, and maintaining systems of fundamental rights. It is already being used to facilitate transparency and combat corruption — for example, Kenya is piloting its use to record land ownership and transfer, historically a poorly managed and easily manipulated process1. The blockchain operates, by design, independently of traditional arbitrators and regulators. Its widespread adoption could remove courts, central banks, and government policy makers from financial and sociopolitical transactions, which in turn has governance implications for the economic, legal, and institutional relationships as we know them today.

Governance implications. Innovation spurred by blockchain technology could result in more efficient and transparent business models. For this reason, investors should be actively assessing emerging blockchain-specific opportunities. However, in addition to understanding the basics of the technology, we believe it’s important to understand the governance implications of the blockchain ecosystem. This report undertakes an assessment of the current pillars of blockchain governance and compares these pillars to current norms of corporate governance as laid out in Cornerstone Capital’s proprietary framework. We see two scenarios: “A Blockchain World” and “Our World with Blockchain,” each offering distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Download the full report here.

Sebastian Vanderzeil is Director, Global Thematic Analyst with Cornerstone Capital Group. He holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Previously, Sebastian was an economic consultant with global technical services group AECOM, where he advised on the development and finance of major infrastructure across Asia and Australia. Sebastian also worked with the Queensland State Government on water and climate issues prior to establishing Australia’s first government-owned carbon broker, Ecofund Queensland.

Emma Currier is a Research Associate at Cornerstone Capital Group. Emma graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from Brown University in May 2016. While at school, she worked with the Socially Responsible Investing Fund and as a teaching assistant for the Public Health and Economics departments. She spent her sophomore summer researching differences between American and Indian educational styles in Arunachal Pradesh, India, and completed a summer investment bank analyst position with Citi in the Media & Telecom group in 2015.

John Wilson was recently interviewed by Sea Change radio’s Alex Wise for his podcast. We discussed how managers balance trying to please dividend-hungry shareholders with keeping an eye on the future, how automation will affect the global economy, and how all of this is ultimately an issue of sustainability. Click below to hear the replay.

John Wilson: Finance of the Future

 

The “skilling up” of the retail workforce has the potential to enable retail workers to improve their productivity and career prospects, while enabling retail companies to build their future workforces. Purposeful investors can identify these companies and take a long-term investor view to encourage these companies to train and deploy this workforce.

The widely reported decline of physical retail stores is alarming for a variety of reasons, but retail stores are likely to live on in one form or another for the foreseeable future (as evidenced by Amazon’s recent moves into the “bricks and mortar” space). The question for retail workers is “Which retailer should I work for?”

Our recent report Retail Automation: Stranded Workers? Opportunities and risks for labor and automation provides some insight into this question for people who are looking to join or currently work in the retail sector. The report highlighted structural changes under way in retail that have the potential to impact the size and wages of the retail labor force. More than six million of the 16 million retail workers in the US, especially women and  those located in smaller regional hubs and rural areas are at risk of losing their jobs to automation just in light of technology that is currently available.

Our research revealed two key automation-related trends likely to affect labor.

First is the “hollowing out” of middle-skilled workers who perform routine tasks, like cashiers and back office associates. These workers will either retrain for higher-skilled jobs or, without training, be pushed down into basic “innate ability” jobs (such as store greeters), with minimal career growth opportunities.

Second is the potential movement of retail stores to more clearly bifurcated strategies:

Companies that adopt an experience strategy are likely to invest in their workers and use technology to enhance the effectiveness of their workforce. In contrast, we see convenience strategies as reducing the absolute number of workers to save costs. Our report offers a framework for assessing a company’s movement towards a convenience or experience strategy—or its lack of clear direction.

What’s a retail worker to do?

Based on these two trends, retail workers looking to navigate the structural changes under way should favor companies that provide tuition reimbursement and/or technical and programming training. Workers who acquire the skills to advance beyond their current roles will be better positioned to benefit, or at least avoid harm, from these secular changes.

Examples of companies that provide such programs are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Publicly disclosed tuition reimbursement and incentivized training programsSource:  Company reports, Cornerstone Capital Group

Amazon, Lowe’s, Gap, and Wal-Mart offer public disclosure around tuition reimbursement that suggests they are positioning their labor force for retail jobs of the future. Best Buy intends to increase its investment in employee development, while automotive retailers Advance Auto Parts and O’Reilly Automotive signal support of their labor force advancing within the automotive field.

Most retail companies are also actively hiring a range of programming, user experience, and merchandising workers. Retailers are competing with Silicon Valley for workers that are in high demand and have seen their wages grow significantly over the last decade, as shown in Figure 2. (Note: our original report did not explore this trend.)

Figure 2: Software developer hourly wage growth vs. total private hourly wage growth 

Source: BLS, Cornerstone Capital Group

Retailers already employ a large workforce that, with training, could provide these higher-skilled services. In addition, these workers have corporate knowledge that could allow them to be more useful to the organization than a Silicon Valley software developer.

The “skilling up” of the retail workforce has the potential to enable retail workers to improve their productivity and career prospects, while enabling retail companies to build their future workforces. We believe purposeful investors can identify these companies and take a long-term investor view to encourage these companies to train and deploy this workforce.

Sebastian Vanderzeil is a Director and Global Thematics Analyst at Cornerstone Capital Group.

 

Executive summary (download full report here)

The retail landscape is experiencing unprecedented change in the face of disruptive forces, one of the most recent and powerful being the rapid rise of automation in the sector. The World Economic Forum predicts that 30-50% of retail jobs are at risk once known automation technologies are fully incorporated. This would result in the loss of about 6 million retail jobs and represents a greater percentage reduction than the manufacturing industry experienced. Using Osborne and Frey study1 with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the analysis suggests that more than 7.5 million jobs are at high risk of computerization. A large proportion of the human capital represented by the retail workforce is therefore at risk of becoming “stranded workers.”

As of 2002, retail employment exceeded total manufacturing employment, and now sits at about 16 million workers (Figure 1). Total manufacturing employment, which peaked in 1979 at approximately 19 million workers, has fallen to 12 million workers. The repercussions of manufacturing’s decline, which was driven by automation and globalization, have been felt at the local and national levels. For example, certain areas of the US that were once manufacturing hubs have experienced rising poverty, declining populations, and erosion of political trust.

Figure 1: Employment in manufacturing and retail trade 

Source: US FRED, Cornerstone Capital Group

The impact of significant reductions in retail workers may mirror the impact of manufacturing job losses. Retail sales at brick-and-mortar stores, as well as margins on those sales, are increasingly constrained as consumers shift to online shopping. At the same time, many parts of the country are experiencing upward structural wage pressure as concerns about income inequality are gaining political traction. Major retailers, including Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart, have collectively closed hundreds of stores over the last few years in attempts to stem losses from unprofitable stores. These headwinds are pushing retailers to rethink the traditional retail business model.

Technology has the potential to automate part of the sales process and render a range of jobs redundant

Retailers are investing in technology to build out their omnichannel platforms. In some cases, technology is complementing labor by providing a better customer experience. Indeed, this report argues that companies which use technology to support their workers are likely to benefit from long-term productivity gains. However, technology also has the potential to automate part of the sales process and render a range of jobs redundant. Taken together, store closures and automation technology have the potential to accelerate job losses in retail, an industry that employs approximately 10% of the total US labor force[1].

An in-depth examination of retail automation was undertaken to enable investors to consider investment risks and opportunities by exploring how retail is addressing profit pressure and how employees are considered in the context of a broader shift in strategy. This report:

Key questions

Which factors are driving automation in retail?

Given that automation has been a central driving force for economic development for decades, it is important to understand why its application in the retail sector threatens to radically and rapidly reshape the retail labor force. The research identifies two key factors driving the automation conversation.

First, e-commerce has grown significantly over the last five years and now accounts for more than 8% of total US retail sales. Amazon has been a dominant force in e-commerce for years, and the company accounted for 43% of all online sales in 2016. While the consumer benefits from lower prices and greater price transparency, Amazon’s success is pressuring retailer profit margins as they fight to maintain market share and keep prices low to remain competitive.

Retail workers are disproportionately represented among recipients of public assistance

Second, a growing focus on income inequality and regulatory-driven minimum wage changes are a source of increasing wage pressure. Retail employs about 10% of the US labor force, and research finds that retail workers are disproportionately represented among recipients of public assistance.[3] Retailers have been increasing wages recently due to a tighter labor market, but retail faces a structural issue of increasing pressure for minimum wage hikes at the local and state level.

Taken together, retailers are facing structural price and cost issues that impact profitability and create meaningful long-term uncertainty. These headwinds will likely increase the industry’s propensity to automate, which would have significant impacts on existing labor. Companies are likely to respond through two consumer strategies:

While companies may pursue a mix of these two strategies, understanding which is the primary strategy will enable investors to understand how technology and labor are likely to be used, and how the overall labor profile of the company might change.

How is automation being adopted in retail?

The technology initiatives of 30 retail companies were assessed, and ten in-store technologies that will impact the retail industry were identified. The assessment provides an indication of the extent to which each technology is being deployed. These initiatives are focused on improving customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, or a combination thereof.

Research indicates companies are adopting mobile devices, self-checkout, digital kiosks, proximity beacons, and workforce and task management solutions

The review of company reports indicates that retail companies are implementing technologies such as mobile devices, self-checkout, digital kiosks, proximity beacons, and workforce and task management solutions.

What are the broader stakeholder implications?

An assessment of the gender composition of retail workers shows that the largest group, retail salespeople, has equal numbers of men and women. However, cashiers, the next largest group of retail workers, are predominantly women (73%). Cashiers are considered one of the most easily automatable jobs in the economy. Based on this analysis, large-scale automation of retail labor could disproportionately affect women, as noted previously in Cornerstone Capital Group’s September 2016 report, Women in an Automated World.

From a geographical standpoint, it appears that several major retail companies have store footprints that are concentrated in less densely populated metropolitan areas. For example, a UCLA study shows that Wal-Mart possesses an average market share of 25% in metropolitan areas with populations of fewer than 500,000 residents. This market share, if indicative of employment share (even if not directly proportionate), suggests significant potential impacts for local communities should Wal-Mart pursue an aggressive labor automation strategy.

How are companies managing labor issues associated with automation?

The retail sector provides little disclosure on labor issues. None of the 30 companies reviewed in this report provides key labor data such as employee turnover, labor costs as a percentage of SG&A, or employee satisfaction. Therefore, a series of proxy metrics were developed to evaluate the universe of companies:

No companies provide key labor data such as employee turnover, labor costs as a percentage of SG&A, or employee satisfaction

Based on the assessment, key takeaways include:

The analysis indicates that automation is set to alter the retail industry’s labor profile. If companies migrate towards a high-touch, experience-based strategy, then it is possible workers will receive improved training and higher wages, and there will be fewer layoffs. If companies adopt a heavily convenience-oriented strategy, more tasks will be automated and less labor required. To date, companies’ discussions around implementing technology suggest that technology is aimed at complementing labor. However, should structural price and cost issues persist, technology may be viewed as a potential substitute for labor.

A mix of experience and convenience strategies could still result in material lay-offs in the retail sector

The most likely outcome is a mix of experience and convenience strategies, though this could still result in material layoffs in the retail sector. Because retail represents approximately 10% of the total US labor force, any systematic deployment of automation is likely to reduce the number of retail jobs by a figure in the millions.

Download full report here.

[1] Calculated from retail trade employment, given by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics Survey

[2] Business Relationship Analytics for Value Enhancement.

[3] EPI analysis of Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement microdata, pooled years 2012-2014

__________

Michael Shavel is a Global Thematic Research Analyst at Cornerstone Capital Group. Prior to joining the firm, Michael was a Research Analyst on the Global Growth and Thematic team at Alliance Bernstein. He holds a B.S. in Finance from Rutgers University and is a CFA Charterholder.

Sebastian Vanderzeil is a Global Thematic Research Analyst with Cornerstone Capital Group. He holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Previously, Sebastian was an economic consultant with global technical services group AECOM, where he advised on the development and finance of major infrastructure across Asia and Australia. Sebastian also worked with the Queensland State Government on water and climate issues prior to establishing Australia’s first government-owned carbon broker, Ecofund Queensland.

Emma Currier is a Research Associate at Cornerstone Capital Group. Emma graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from Brown University in May 2016. While at school, she worked with the Socially Responsible Investing Fund and as a teaching assistant for the Public Health and Economics departments. She spent her sophomore summer researching differences between American and Indian educational styles in Arunachal Pradesh, India, and completed a summer investment bank analyst position with Citi in the Media & Telecom group in 2015.

 

Increasing automation will change the composition of the US workforce. 49% of workers are in professions that face a high risk (greater than 70% probability) of computerization, defined as automation by computer-controlled equipment. 32% of US workers are in professions that face a very high risk (greater than 90%).

Women face greater risk of job loss due to computerization, and “lower risk” jobs typically dominated by women pay less than low risk male-dominated jobs. Our analysis revealed that women hold nearly 60% of jobs facing very high risk of computerization. Women also hold a greater percentage of jobs in very low risk professions (less than 10% chance of automation); the median annual income of those jobs is $27,000 less than that for low risk men’s jobs.

Developing “non-computerizable” skills minimizes exposure to automation risk over the long term and enables migration towards emerging sectors. Programs aiming to develop social and critical thinking skills offer a way for women to transition to lower risk jobs and access low risk male-dominated STEM fields.

There are a range of options available to investors who wish to influence this trend. Education technology (EdTech) funds and gender lens investing offer opportunities to investors concerned with the potential impact of automation on women. We offer a brief overview of the relevant investment approaches.

Figure 1: Computerization risk categories by gender in the US

ewing-automation-figure-1

Source:  Frey and Osborne, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?” Oxford University, September 2013; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Cornerstone Capital Group.

To download our complete report, click here.

Fiona Ewing recently completed an internship in the Research department of Cornerstone Capital Group, where she produced this original report while contributing to another major project. She is a rising senior at Dartmouth College, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Chinese. Previously she interned with Clarion Partners, focusing on strategy and research.

Sebastian Vanderzeil is a Global Thematic Analyst with Cornerstone Capital Group. He holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Previously, Sebastian was an economic consultant with global technical services group AECOM, where he advised on the development and finance of major infrastructure across Asia and Australia. Sebastian also worked with the Queensland State Government on water and climate issues prior to establishing Australia’s first government-owned carbon broker, Ecofund Queensland.