Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

Environmental Change, Societal Challenges and the Power of Financial Investments

Oct 18, 2019
2:30pm - 4:15pm
IBES 130 (Carmichael Auditorium)

As Amazonia burns, species go extinct, and sea level rises, profound challenges must be met to preserve the environmental integrity needed to sustain life on Earth. 

Jeremy Grantham (acclaimed investor and climate change philanthropist) will provide a keynote presentation, “Race of Our Lives,” to set the context for the challenges we face.

Ricardo Bayon '89 (Partner, Encourage Capital) will moderate a panel discussion with leading figures in environmental and impact investing to explore the power of financial investments to help meet environmental challenges and positively impact the environment.

Additional panelists will include:

  • Sophie Purdom '16, Co-Author, Sustainable Investing: Revolutions in Theory in Practice
  • Charlotte Kaiser, The Nature Conservancy
  • Sarah Hoyt, Cambridge Associates
  • Derek Strocher, Calvert Impact Capital

Jeremy Grantham is a co-founder of GMO, LLC, an investment management firm in Boston that currently manages approximately $71 billion, predominately for large institutions. He is the firm’s chief investment strategist, chairman of the board, an active member of its asset allocation division and the author of a quarterly letter to clients.  In addition to providing an investment outlook, the letter has covered issues of financial ethics, deficiencies in capitalism, resource limitations and problems posed by changing climate.

In 1998 Jeremy and his wife Hannelore established the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment which seeks to protect and improve the health of the global environment.  The foundation’s grants focus on climate change and biodiversity conservation, with an emphasis on international initiatives.  Key funding programs include the establishment of research institutes at LSE and Imperial College both in London and the center at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Jeremy is a trustee of The Nature Conservancy.  He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Sheffield (U.K.) and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and holds honorary degrees from the New School, University of Sheffield (New York) and Imperial College London. 

Mr. Grantham was invested as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in 2015 for his climate change related philanthropy. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

Ricardo Bayon is a Founder and Partner of Encourage Capital, a new breed of asset management firm focused on profitable and strategic investments to solve critical social and environmental problems. Encourage Capital seeks to build a community of investors, foundations, market leading companies, governments and non-profits who are working together to address some of the world’s most challenging issues while generating financial returns for its investors. Encourage was formed through the merger of Wolfensohn Fund Management (the firm created by the former head of the World Bank, Jim Wolfensohn) and EKO Asset Management, a firm that Mr. Bayon created with his business partner, Jason Scott. Encourage is managing or has managed hundreds of millions of for Foundations, high net-worth individuals, family offices, and other impact investors. The company has done work and made investments on issues like financial inclusion, carbon markets, solar energy, fisheries, water, and green infrastructure. Mr. Bayon also serves on the company’s board of directors. Prior to co-founding EKO, he helped found and served as the Managing Director of the “Ecosystem Marketplace,” a web site and information/analysis service covering these emerging environmental markets.  In that capacity he co-authored a number of publications on voluntary carbon markets, mitigation banking, and ecosystem services including “The State of Voluntary Carbon Markets 2007: Picking up Steam” and “Voluntary Carbon Markets: An International Business Guide to What They Are and How They Work,” and “Conservation and Biodiversity Banking: A Guide to Setting Up and Running Biodiversity Credit Trading System”. For nearly two decades he has specialized on issues related to finance, banking, ecosystem services, and the environment. He has done work for a number of organizations, including Insight Investments, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, IUCN, The Nature Conservancy, Domini Social Investment, among others. His articles have appeared in publications such as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, the International Herald Tribune,. He has also written numerous articles and books on mitigation banking, renewable energy, biodiversity markets, markets for water quality, and other environmental markets. He was born in Bogota, Colombia, and is currently based in San Francisco.

Sophie Purdom is the co-author of Sustainable Investing: Revolutions in Theory in Practice and led the foundation of the Brown University Sustainable Investment Fund, the first ESG fund at a leading university endowment.

Alongside these efforts, she developed and taught a course on sustainable investing. Her book argues pathways for the continued evolution of sustainable investing, with a focus on profit, solutions, and effective partnership across stakeholders.

Sophie consulted at Bain & Company where she focused on private equity diligence.  As a member of the Brown Class of 2016, she worked extensively at the nexus of business and environment by participating in the UN climate negotiations and co-writing Rhode Island’s first climate change law.  Additionally, she serves on the Advisory Council for the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society and is a Henry David Thoreau Scholar. 

Sophie currently advises a venture capital-backed agricultural technology business that replaces chemical fertilizer with a microbial solution.  She has been admitted to Harvard Business School but is deferring in favor of pursuing more entrepreneurial opportunities.

Sarah Hoyt joined Cambridge Associates in 2017. She conducts manager research through the lens of impact and ESG and is based in the Boston office. Her focus spans asset classes and impact themes, and she leverages this research to support clients in activating impact and environmental, social, and governance considerations in portfolios.

Sarah has over ten years of diverse experience in the nonprofit and private sectors. She began her career advancing women’s political and economic empowerment in western Africa. She then spent four years with Conservation International in Washington DC leveraging climate change science to influence global policy. This work prompted her graduate studies at Duke University, where she focused on the link between corporate strategy, environmental and social performance, and impact investing. 

Prior to joining Cambridge Associates, Sarah worked for management consulting firm Partners in Performance on operational improvement initiatives for industrial clients around the world. Sarah brings a unique blend of perspectives in environmental management and business strategy and operations to the Mission Related Investing Platform, and balances client engagement with in-depth manager research.

Derek Strocher is Chief Financial Officer at Calvert Impact Capital. As CFO, Derek oversees all financial decisions of the world’s most dynamic impact investing firm.  Under his fiscal leadership the firm has doubled in size to over $500 million, delivering a steady track record of positive earnings to accompany one of the largest portfolios of social good in the world.  He has been a guiding force for creative solutions like the first-ever blue bond aimed at restoring the health of oceans, the first environmental impact bond to encourage green technologies, and the first equity issuance by a nonprofit in history. 
As a leader of innovative finance at the World Bank, he spearheaded the creation of AgResults - a $100 million private-sector incentive program to tackle the world’s most challenging agricultural problems.  He represented the Bank on the Audit and Finance Committee of GAVI, helping to ensure millions of children received life-saving vaccinations, and as the Bank’s expert in innovative finance at the United Nations General Assembly, advising on ground-breaking work in development finance.
Derek built his financial acumen running an investment banking team at the Royal Bank of Scotland, following several years in finance at multi-national corporations, bolstered by his studies at London Business School (Masters in Finance), the CPA in Canada, and the University of Calgary (Bachelor of Commerce).
When not in the office, he can be found at the hockey rink with his son, making green tea frappuccinos with his daughter, or appreciating art and history in museums with his, much more knowledgeable, wife.

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