Session Information

ESG Integration and Investment Decision-Making: Candid Discussion with Investors

Date: Friday, March 4

Time: 8:30am -9:30am

Format: Panel Discussion

Over the past decade, investor views have shifted from skepticism to certainty that environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will impact stock performance. How does this point of view impact stock valuations and selection processes in reality? And how can corporate CFOs and finance teams better articulate the business case for sustainability-related investments to their investors?
Transforming aspiration to action is a challenge that is best addressed through a collaborative plan of action from companies and their investors. GLOBE 2016 presents a candid discussion with investors to better understand their expectations on corporate ESG performance, and how companies can be rewarded for meeting these expectations.

Topic Speakers

Michelle Edkins is a Managing Director at BlackRock and Global Head of its Investment Stewardship team of 22 specialists based in five key regions internationally.  In that role, she is responsible for the team’s engagement and proxy voting activities in relation to the companies in which BlackRock invests on behalf of clients.  She also serves on the firm’s Human Capital and Government Relations Steering Committees.

Michelle is an active participant in the public corporate governance debate and regularly speaks and writes on the importance of good stewardship for company performance.  She was named in the NACD (the US National Association of Corporate Directors) Directorship 100 Governance Professionals list for the past four years.  She is also a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s First Movers program and a former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Corporate Governance Network.  She is an alumna of BlackRock’s Women’s Leadership Forum and its Enterprise Leadership Program.  She currently serves on the Advisory Council of the International Integrated Reporting Council and is a member of the steering group of the US chapter of the 30% Club, a market initiative to increase the number of women on boards and in senior management.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2009, Michelle was Managing Director at Governance for Owners, an independent partnership offering products that support responsible long-term share ownership.  She started her corporate governance career in the UK in 1997 at Hermes Pensions Management, where she spent eight years, initially as the head of the corporate governance team and thereafter as Director of Institutional Relations.  An economist by training, Michelle has also worked for New Zealand’s Reserve Bank and the British High Commission in Wellington.  She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.

Susan is the Central Market Leader for EY’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) practice with 15 years of experience helping clients identify and develop economic solutions for environmental and social challenges. Susan’s work in financial services, Government and the not-for-profit sector includes environmental, social and governance (ESG)-focused program reviews and evaluations, stakeholder consultations, materiality assessments, risk assessments and management, and sustainability disclosure guidance. Prior to joining EY, Susan worked for an investment research firm to identify and assess the impact ESG issues and risks could have on the future financial performance of large cap stocks listed on the MSCI world index. In 2014, Susan was named to the Clean 50 and Clean 16 list of professionals, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to clean capitalism.

Susan holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business with a specialization in Finance and Sustainability and serves on the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business advisory council. She is an adjunct professor with the University of Toronto, where she teaches a graduate course in environmental finance and sustainable investing and is a member of the Environmental Finance Advisory Committee. Past affiliations include serving as a Board Member of the Toronto-based Responsible Investment Association, and Associate Fellow with the Institute for Research and Innovation out of York University.