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Sustainable Finance Week Debuts on Crowded December Calendar

By Dave Armon

Scooch over, National Cookie Cutter Week.

Make room, National Hand Washing Awareness Week.

There’s a new commemorative week on the calendar, and it’s providing a compelling platform for corporate reporters and investors steeped in environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures to share their work with the world.

Sustainable Finance Week launched at Bloomberg's world headquarters in Manhattan this Monday, with the first of four events highlighting progress in moving ESG into the mainstream of investing. And attendees were bullish about the week's impact.

“Even with the gridlock at the federal level, U.S. cities are still on track” to achieve the greenhouse gas emission reductions required under the 2016 Paris climate agreement,” said Abigail Dean, head of sustainability for Nuveen’s TH Real Estate unit.

Dean was among Global Responsible Investing Forum presenters discussing the E in ESG – environmental.

Covering the S, social, was Seema Hingorani, founder of the nonprofit Girls Who Invest and former chief investment officer for the New York City Retirement Systems, which had assets of $160 billion.

“There are still firms out there in our business that have cultures that are not all that welcoming to women,” said Hingorani, detailing her efforts to provide a pipeline of trained women to investment firms seeking to achieve gender balance.

Peggy Foran, chief governance officer at Prudential Financial, emphasized G – for governance – and how to hold senior management accountable for diversity and inclusion goals.

“It’s as much about the stick as it is about the carrot,“ said Foran, adding that bonuses can be trimmed by as much as 10 percent if workplace diversity remains static or slips.

Additional Sustainable Finance Week events in New York include a sold-out “Moving the Markets” forum organized by the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board, or SASB. Companies committed to robust sustainability reporting – General Motors, NRG Energy, The Mosaic Company and Medtronic – are scheduled to speak. Also on the agenda, a session focusing on the “complementarity” of SASB and the Global Reporting Initiative, GRI, two frameworks that many viewed as competitive until a recent thaw.

Other events under the Sustainable Finance Week umbrella: RI Americas 2018 Conference and IR Magazine and Corporate Secretary’s “ESG Integration Forum.”

Next up on the national commemorative calendar, Christmas Bird Count Week.

Image credit: Anthony Quintano/Wiki Commons
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Dave Armon is the Chief Executive Officer of 3BL Media, which produces the 3BL Forum and ranks the 100 Best Corporate Citizens. A former journalist, Dave spent 20 years in management at PR Newswire, where he was president and COO.  

Read more stories by Dave Armon