The AIF Institute, the educational arm of economic think tank AIF Global, announced today the launch of the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing, aiming to address top priorities within the investor community and to provide leading, actionable research in key focus areas, including climate, governance, and diversity through the lens of risk management and investment opportunity.

Melissa Waller, President of the AIF Institute, said:

“The creation of the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing comes at a time when investors are increasingly recognizing, prioritizing, and integrating ESG and sustainability in their investment programs and portfolios.

“This is evidenced by ESG remaining an integral component of the curriculum and investor-led discussions through both AIF Global and AIF Institute initiatives. The Center will further these key discussions, emphasizing education, research, and data, and foster pragmatic approaches to ESG among investors.”

Founding faculty members for the new Center include investment management heavyweights, and leading ESG investing advocates Natixis Investment Managers and BlackRock.

Harald Walkate, Head of ESG at Natixis Investment Managers, said:

“We are proud to serve as a founding faculty member with the AIF Institute on this important initiative to bring ESG research and education to investors. The rapid global adoption of ESG underscores the need for investors to have clear objectives and evidence-based insights in order to select the ESG approaches that will contribute to effective capital allocation. We believe the new AIF Institute Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing will be an excellent independent resource to support those efforts.”

The Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing will cultivate leading academic research, along with thought leadership, in the investment industry across both the public and private sectors.  The AIF Institute said that, the Center will place a primary focus on practical application and outcomes to support institutional investors globally in navigating, shaping, and integrating ESG and sustainability policies with the creation of innovation labs.

Sharmila Kassam, Executive Director of the AIF Institute, will lead the development of the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing. Kassam said:

“We will begin our focus in the innovation labs on critical ESG aspects still developing in the industry, including measurement and data, climate factors, benchmarking, implementation models, and ESG-focused investment policies—resulting from our dialogue with over 50 of the world’s largest institutional investors this  Center’s first faculty board meeting.”