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Is ESG Finance a Game Changer in the Struggle for a Sustainable World?

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This conference will consist of three presentations addressing the topics of industrial ecology, mainstream Finance and ESG Finance + Q&A

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Is ESG Finance a Game Changer in the Struggle for a Sustainable World

ESG Finance aims at incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance criteria in their capital allocation decisions, as well as finding novel public/private set-ups in project financing. In doing so, ESG Finance tries to answer the demand from social influencers (environmental activists, UN PRI, etc.), regulators (especially the EU), corporations and investors.

In this context however, some critics consider that ESG Finance, as compared to mainstream Finance, is trying to achieve too much and that fiduciary duty is an obstacle to ESG integration.

At the opposite end, other critics consider that ESG Finance is not achieving enough in terms of impact in the struggle for a sustainable world, and that the evaluation of this impact may be more limited that claimed by its advocates.

Addressing and discussing such issues and a few others in the context of the struggle for a sustainable world is the purpose of this Joint Alumni Conference (JAF).

JAF Conferences are organized by a consortium of university alumni associations in Switzerland, including those from Cambridge, Columbia, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, Yale, among others. These conferences are open to all interested.

The conference: Is ESG Finance a Game Changer in the Struggle for a Sustainable World, will be a virtual conference taking place on Tuesday 22nd June 2021 from 6 :00 pm to 7h15 pm (EST).

Event Details

Date & Time: June 22 from 18:00-19:15 CET

Location: Zoom - link to be emailed to attendees via email on June 21

Agenda: The conference will consist of three presentations addressing the topics of industrial ecology, mainstream Finance and ESG Finance, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session, as follows:

Welcome address: Eric Ohlund, President, Stanford Club of Switzerland,

Introduction and moderator: Sheila Ohlund, CEO, CFA Society , Switzerland,

Industrial Ecology Message for a Sustainable World: Suren Erkman, Professor, UNIL,

Is ESG Investing just Good Investing? Lukas Münstermann, Head of ESG Center, Associate Director, Vontobel Asset Management

The Changes Brought by the ESG Finance Approach: Harald Walkate, Head of Responsible Investment (ESG), Managing Director, Natixis Investment Managers

Panel discussion and Q&A: All participants

Meet the Speakers

Suren Erkman, Associate Professor Industrial Ecology, University of Lausanne

Suren Erkman has a background in Philosophy and Biology from the University of Geneva (Switzerland) and a PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of Technology of Troyes (France). He has been also trained as a registered science and business journalist. He began to contribute to the emerging field of Industrial Ecology in 1993, as a science and business author, consultant and entrepreneur. In 2005, he joined the University of Lausanne as an Associate Professor in Industrial Ecology. Suren Erkman is also Chairman of the Board of the consulting company Sofies (Solutions for Industrial Ecosystems), with more than 60 collaborators. Sofies advises companies, governments and international organizations on sustainability issues, with a focus on industrial ecology and circular economy.

Lukas Münstermann, Head of ESG Center at Vontobel

Lukas is head of ESG Center at Vontobel, a global investment house focused on active investment strategies. While being an ESG enthusiast, he believes the main role of finance is to allocate capital. He is convinced ESG investing can help to better allocate capital but it needs to evolve further before it becomes the game changer everyone wants it to be.

Sheila Ohlund, CEO of the CFA Society Switzerland

Sheila Ohlund has over twenty years’ experience in investment research and portfolio management at international financial service firms, including American Express Global Asset Management, Rothschilds, and SBC Brinson/UBS. She started her career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with Price Waterhouse. Sheila has the chartered financial analyst (CFA) and ESG Investing certificates and has masters degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the London School of Economics as well as an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate from Stanford University.

Harald Walkate, Head of ESG at Natixis Investment Managers

Harald is head of ESG at Natixis Investment Managers, one of the world’s largest asset management firms. In the ESG community he is known for his obsession with “evidence-based” practices. He traces most of his views on ESG and investing to the University of Chicago where he obtained an MBA degree.


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The Joint Alumni Forum (a social responsibility network in Zürich, and collaboration of the alumni networks in Switzerland of Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, Yale, Columbia University, and others).

This webinar is hosted by the Stanford Club of Switzerland on behalf of the Joint Alumni Forum and is organized by Jean-Michel Kaliszewski (Stanford Club of Switzerland).

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