State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Women & Sustainability Group Hosts Panel on Sustainable Investing

Members of the Women & Sustainability group pause for photo with Professor Ariane van Buren.
Members of the Women & Sustainability group pause for photo with Professor Ariane van Buren. (From Left: Andrea Moore, Lori Choi, Ariane van Buren, Sarah Bostwick, Danielle Chesebrough, Shubhra Singhal)

Written by current M.S. in Sustainability Management student and co-president of the Women & Sustainability group Drew Sambol

On Wednesday, April 10, the Earth Institute’s Women & Sustainability group hosted a panel on Sustainable Investing.

The panel showcased three speakers: Sarah Bostwick, Manager of Communication on Progress at the United Nations Global Compact; Danielle Chesebrough, Manager of Investor Engagements with United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI); and Lori Choi, Wealth Manager and CFA Charterholder at Veris Wealth Partners.

Professor Ariane van Buren, Ph.D., moderated the panel.  She presently teaches Economics of Sustainable Development at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and will be teaching Applied Economics: The Role of Investor Relations in Corporate Sustainability in the Sustainability Management program in the fall of 2013.

The discussion centered on the intersection of sustainability and finance, while highlighting the role women are increasingly playing in this field.  The panelists all emphasized the need to be able to communicate transferable skills to enter the field and to embrace networking. Each woman spoke about her own unique career path, and offered honest and actionable advice about professional development.

The panelists discussed some of the challenges they faced as women entering a traditionally male-dominated industry, but noted that the landscape is rapidly changing.  In addition to more women entering financial and investment industries, a major “wealth shift” is beginning to occur as the younger generation develops influence.  This conversation gave rise to the question of how younger generations will invest.

A key takeaway from the panel is that sustainable finance is a growing industry.  Ms. Bostwick urged the group to ponder: Are sustainable issues really non-financial issues?

Women & Sustainability (W&S) was established by the Earth Institute’s M.S. in Sustainability Management (MSSM) program in the fall of 2012 by Andrea Moore.  W&S strives to advance female leaders working in sustainability through academic, professional, and personal development. The group aims to develop a community to serve as a place for women working in sustainability to voice their concerns and barriers, and to act as a support network providing encouragement and fostering growth.


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