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Sustainability, Finance and Us


About Sustainable Finance Institute (SFI)

Issues such as pollution and climate change challenge the ongoing viability, effectiveness, and social utility of the global financial market system. 

Academics, regulators, and practitioners continue to explore ways in which markets can be best structured to avoid excessive risk while creating environments that encourage the right opportunities. A widespread focus on short-term performance, self-serving behavior, and outright fraud also is not seen as optimal. Ongoing revelations of fraudulent behavior such as the recent Libor and Forex market manipulations cause an increasing number of market participants to question the adequacy of checks and balanced in traditional financial markets, making sustainability within finance an appealing subject for increased study and implementation. 

Sustainability and finance were historically opposing forces, which are now coming together to enable best financial success alongside evolving improved societal outcomes. 

  • Sustainability without a business case is just philanthropy, which while a fine and noble thing unto itself, is insufficient for solving the problems at hand. 
  • Finance without sustainability is a recipe for environmental and social disaster – issues such as climate change, fresh water shortages, pollution and increased levels of inequity and inequality are not solved without adequate specific focus.      

The old maxim of maximizing shareholder returns has broadened in scope to encompass a larger mission: one that includes achieving social and environmental objectives, alongside financial returns. 

It is in this context that sustainable finance has gained momentum and that we, at the Sustainable Finance Institute (SFI), will encourage the development of communities of best practice and research. 


Sustainable Finance Trends

Sustainable finance, while still in its early stages of development, is experiencing enormous growth in the past few years, as a solution set which is seen as scalable and of vital importance:

  • A recent report by the World Economic Forum suggests that 64 percent of U.S. based pension funds expect to make allocations in sustainable finance in the future, which is a huge contrast to only 6 percent that had already made sustainable finance advances by 2013. 
  • European corporations have 60 percent or more of their institutional shareholders deploying sustainability strategies, causing them to do ESG (environmental, social, governance) roadshows to best manage their shareholder base
  • Large institutions are seeing increased interest from their investor clients as well, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch seeing half of their $2.8 trillion dollar pool of client assets wanting to participate in sustainable and impact investing,
  • while other studies find a strong majority of millennials seeking to invest with impact and to get jobs in this field, something we also experience in our interactions with leading students at US universities such as Yale and Brown.

There are many reasons why sustainable finance should be encouraged:

  • A main motivation is that private investment in societal problems can create immense positive change – for example, there is great potential in public/private partnerships. 
  • Many also believe that financial opportunity is an important aspect to consider when impact investing, others see the need to maximize impact first, and this ongoing debate has important ramifications. 
  • A report on sustainable and responsible investing trends by the U.S. Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (U.S. SIF) reveals that demand from clients is the main reason that asset managers are increasingly implementing ESG criteria in their investments. Similarly, in the 2016 GIIN survey, money managers reported that the most prominent reason for including impact investments in their portfolio was client demand. RFPs from large asset owners increasingly require ESG considerations as pension funds are seeking to drive change among their investors and understand who they can most trust as partners.

This trend is not likely to stop anytime soon.


Investors Leading a Historical Turning Point

We are potentially at the turning point in the history of finance. 

This necessary combination of financial and sustainability success is starting to happen, and it is critically important to recognize and participate in these ongoing trends for the success of your career, your region and your business.

SFI will focus on where investing needs to get to over the next five to ten years - looking at what actually works, can work and needs to work right now, cutting across regions, systems and implementation strategies across a variety of fresh, global solutions-oriented perspectives. 

Move too fast and you can get sucked right into a cleantech bubble – move too slow and you are left behind by the next Tesla. 

How to get this balance just right?

We are actually quite confident of success – growth can only come through applications of both sustainability and finance together, creating a necessary positive dynamic of sustainability for financial and societal success, with those not participating being left behind. Markets after all need winners and losers.

Those who approach financial markets without sustainability will almost certainly struggle or fail unnecessarily due to poor future environmental outcomes and sustainability needs a business case.

SFI will:

  • Encourage this dual path of sustainability and best financial outcomes through our educational offerings – turning what has often been a negative into what needs to become only positive; 
  • Bring to light and help develop financially outperforming practices of sustainable investing and the joining of the worlds of mainstream finance and sustainable investing;
  • Help develop a growing community of global practice who realize that these goals are now one and the same and work together to make this happen.

SFI Mission and Vision


The Sustainable Finance Institute (SFI) creates and delivers cutting edge sustainable finance education at levels which include:

  • pre-college programs
  • undergraduate and graduate programs 
  • executive workshops
  • summer school programs for high schoolers
  • training and certification for professionals
  • corporate, government and institutional consulting services.

Combined with industry experiences, to allow students across interested age groups to become fully immersed in the theory and practice of sustainable finance, and emerge as leading practitioners in this rapidly growing field.

Recent surveys from Bank of America and Morgan Stanley demonstrate interest for some age groups exceeding 90% in investing with sustainability considerations, while limited offerings are available to interested students. 

Our programs involve the best, most experienced teaching available globally, using well evolved techniques which keep our courses vibrant and fully engaging for students, including access to some of the largest investment institutions moving in this direction, such as Bank of America, BlackRock and many similar.

Our mission is to be the first, as well as the world's leader at providing programs which develop communities of best practice, giving students a multi-disciplinary perspective including multiple global on the ground experiences, making important connections towards their becoming part of a growing cohort of leading global practitioners of sustainable finance. Our global program is designed to take students from around the world to the US, and vice versa.

SFI Advantages

  • Global exposure with outstanding worldwide universities
  • Hands-on experience in finance and sustainable tech.
  • A leading multi-disciplinary educational experience
  • Join an important global professionals network
  • Develop practical sustainable business leadership


Advantages of Sustainable Finance

  • Helps investors avoid risks from pollution, stay ahead of regulatory changes, avoid the effects of brand value degradation
  • Allows investors to capture market share from millennials, to respond to RFPs from large asset owners such as the GPIF in Japan and many more
  • Creates and demonstrates thought leadership across asset class in a world expected to increasingly demand solutions to environmental and other societal challenges


Advantages of Industry Experiences

  • Gives students a chance to practice their academic knowledge and convert into real-world experiences 
  • Exposes students to industry environments beyond textbook knowledge, allows students to get a better sense of the type of sub-industry, company and position they would like to work for
  • Develops student character and attitude for the workplace.
  • Refines student skills and abilities to cope under pressure
  • Builds professional awareness and competitiveness.
  • Strengthens students’ personal commitment levels.
  • Contributes to an impressive CV and well-presented interview upon graduation, with work experience to back up their portfolios and academic achievements for prospective employers.
  • Offers professional development to enhance soft skills for marketability.
  • Provides students with an opportunity to network with professionals in finance and for potential career opportunities
  • Develops and expands students professional and personal skills

SFI Success Stories

New York State

University of Edinburgh

Yale University


Advising New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli of the state’s first-ever Decarbonization Advisory Panel.It was initially proposed by the Governor during his 2018 State of the State address in January. SFI's Cary Krosinsky, one of the panel's leading experts, will advise the Comptroller, as trustee of the $209.1 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund), on how best to mitigate investment risks stemming from climate change and maximize opportunities from a low-carbon economy. 

Yale University

University of Edinburgh

Yale University



Led a sold-out symposium at Yale University in September 2017 on the State of ESG Data and Metrics, including an issue of the Journal of Environmental Investing, developing scalable strategies and innovations that include machine learning, satellites, alpha generating strategies, remaining data challenges. 

University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh



Mentored the successful Prosper Social Finance student run fund at the University of Edinburgh which attracted significant interest and funding from the university and gives back part of its profits to the local community, along with other student funds at global universities.

Brown University

Columbia University

University of Edinburgh


Helped establish the Brown University Sustainable Investment Fund in 2016 alongside our class The Theory and Practice of Sustainable Investing, whose final projects involve building investment portfolios which outperform and ongoing side research which has contributed to recent books, including topics such as funding green infrastructure, sustainable private equity and venture capital.

Columbia University

Columbia University

Columbia University


RFK Sustainable Investing Certificate program - during 2013-14, designed, led teaching and delivered a successful multi-disciplinary sustainable investing program for professionals which included $15T of assets among the senior students from Pension Funds such as NY State Common, NY City Retirement, CalPERS, LACERA, City of Boston Employee Retirement, Apollo, Carlyle, Generation and many similar

at Columbia University. 

Yale College

Columbia University

Columbia University


Member, Faculty Advisory Committee, Energy Studies at Yale College, teaching energy, climate and investing each year from 2015 through 2018 featuring many prominent speakers from across the spectrum of energy innovation and investment. This multi-disciplinary program has record levels of student interest and Brown University is considering adapting the program.