New York, New York, March 11, 2021 – The AIF Institute officially launched the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing with its inaugural faculty board meeting. The AIF Institute’s second of four Centers of Excellence launching in 2021 will address top priorities within the investor community and provide leading, actionable research in key focus areas, including climate, governance, and diversity through the lens of risk management and investment opportunity. Natixis Investment Managers, a leader in ESG investing which is among the world’s largest asset management firms, will serve as a founding faculty member for the development of the AIF Institute’s new Center, along with BlackRock, an industry leader in sustainable investing and stewardship.
“The creation of the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing comes at a time when investors are increasingly recognizing, prioritizing, and integrating ESG and sustainability in their investment programs and portfolios,” says Melissa Waller, President of the AIF Institute.
“This is evidenced by ESG remaining an integral component of the curriculum and investor-led discussions through both AIF Global and AIF Institute initiatives,” she continues. “The Center will further these key discussions, emphasizing education, research, and data, and foster pragmatic approaches to ESG among investors.”
“We are proud to serve as a founding faculty member with the AIF Institute on this important initiative to bring ESG research and education to investors,” said Harald Walkate, Head of ESG at Natixis Investment Managers, who will join the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing Faculty Board. “The rapid global adoption of ESG underscores the need for investors to have clear objectives and evidence-based insights in order to select the ESG approaches that will contribute to effective capital allocation. We believe the new AIF Institute Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing will be an excellent independent resource to support those efforts.”
Aligned with the AIF Institute’s mission, the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing will cultivate leading academic research, along with thought leadership, in the investment industry across both the public and private sectors. Specifically, the Centers will place a primary focus on practical application and outcomes to support institutional investors globally in navigating, shaping, and integrating ESG and sustainability policies with the creation of innovation labs.
As Waller explains, “Cornerstone to each of the Centers of Excellence will be the innovation labs, where investors will actively engage with AIF Institute faculty to develop education and research that meet the evolving needs and challenges with respect to their portfolios, leveraging the independent AIF platform with its foremost academic and industry resources.”
Sharmila Kassam, Executive Director of the AIF Institute, who will lead the development of the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing notes “We will begin our focus in the innovation labs on critical ESG aspects still developing in the industry, including measurement and data, climate factors, benchmarking, implementation models, and ESG-focused investment policies— resulting from our dialogue with over 50 of the world’s largest institutional investors this Center’s first faculty board meeting.”
The AIF Institute is launching four Centers of Excellence in 2021 to continue to meet investor needs globally, including the Center for Insurance, Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing, Center for Private Capital Investing, and the newly announced Center for Financial Innovation.