Alternative ESG Symposium

A guide to navigating the complexities of ESG in alternative investments

About the event

On the 19th of May 2022 Aurum Funds Limited held its inaugural Alternative ESG Symposium, which was a pleasure to host. The purpose of the event was to bring investors, managers and asset owners of alternative investments together to focus on how to better navigate the complexities of ESG in alternative investments. The Symposium provided a forum for discussion, as well as input from industry specialists on the current ESG environment and expected direction of travel.

The aim when curating the event was to create a day that would be exciting to attend and the symposium certainly did not disappoint. The sessions and the responses from those that attended exceeded expectations. The day was enriched by the variety and experience of the speakers, which shined through with the insightful messages and informed debate.

Schedule

Session

 
Welcome sessionWelcome and scene setting for the day
Keynote address
Mapping the environmental emergencyBackground to the climate emergency including human rights and biodiversity
Policy update: Sink or swimUpdate on regulatory environment and asset owner expectations
Carbon offsetting – How to avoid sailing into the windOverview of carbon offsetting market including
– Carbon credits
– Environmental justice
– Avoidance and reduction vs sequestration
ESG reporting frameworks – Learning the ropesAn introduction to reporting frameworks and their use in different scenarios
Building a sustainable future – Anchoring ESG into firm cultureHow to create and maintain an ESG culture across both investment and business practices
Closing sessionFive key items to implement for a better future

Replay

Welcome

Kevin Gundle
Director, Chief Executive Officer
Aurum Research Limited

Welcome and scene setting for the day….
Welcome and scene setting for the day.
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Keynote address

Jacqueline Novogratz
Founder and CEO
Acumen

Jacqueline’s inspirational keynote address covered: Her mission founding Acumen, to utilise philanthropy to invest to build a world of dignity within a 10-15 year time horizon. …
Jacqueline’s inspirational keynote address covered:

  • Her mission founding Acumen, to utilise philanthropy to invest to build a world of dignity within a 10-15 year time horizon.
  • The biggest challenge faced in sustainability is mindset
  • Four key issues of our time: deforestation, poor sanitation, electrification, no consensus of truth
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Download Acumen presentation here

Mapping the environmental emergency

Áine Clarke
KnowTheChain and Investor Strategy
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
Panelist

Ray Dhirani
Head of Climate and Sustainable Finance
Wallbrook
Panelist

Mike Hoffmann
Head of Global Conservation Programmes
Zoological Society of London
Panelist

Emily Forsyth-Davies
Head of ESG
Aurum Research Limited
Moderator

At COP26 the inextricable link between biodiversity and climate change was acknowledged, but the human rights aspect was conspicuous by its absence. Against a constant news flow of overwhelming inform…
At COP26 the inextricable link between biodiversity and climate change was acknowledged, but the human rights aspect was conspicuous by its absence. Against a constant news flow of overwhelming information, this panel discussion focuses on the key things you need to know:

  • Covering climate, biodiversity and human rights and their intersections
  • How these relate back to alternative investments and how the ‘just transition’ fits in
  • Things to be positive about, where we can create a positive impact
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Policy update: sink or swim

Marcus Hurd
Managing Director
ndapt
Panelist

Adam Jacobs-Dean
Managing Director, Head of Markets Governance and Innovation
The Alternative Investment Management Association

Panelist

Fergus Moffatt
Head of UK Policy
ShareAction
Panelist

Emily Forsyth-Davies
Head of ESG
Aurum Research Limited
Moderator

Over the last few years, it seems barely a week goes by without a public policy announcement on ESG matters. This panel discussion highlights policy developments, focusing on: The backgro…
Over the last few years, it seems barely a week goes by without a public policy announcement on ESG matters. This panel discussion highlights policy developments, focusing on:

  • The background to the current regulatory environment and how this is expected to evolve.
  • Evolution of asset owner fiduciary duty and expectations
  • Applicability of regulation to alternative investments and how this translates to different strategies including shorting
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Carbon offsetting – how to avoid sailing into the wind

Catherine Bryan
Trustee
Synchronicity Earth
Panelist

Emily Forsyth-Davies
Head of ESG
Aurum Research Limited
Panelist

Judith Twentyman
Head of Finance and Risk
Synchronicity Earth
Panelist

Adam Sweidan
Director, Chief Investment Officer
Aurum Research Limited
Moderator

The opaqueness and vested interests in the carbon offset and credit market can lead to obfuscation and confusion. To counter this, this panel session provides an objective overview including the follo…
The opaqueness and vested interests in the carbon offset and credit market can lead to obfuscation and confusion. To counter this, this panel session provides an objective overview including the following:

  • Carbon credits vs carbon offsets with a focus on best practice including transparency and accountability
  • Types of projects available – reduction and sequestration

Project overviews – Synchronicity Earth

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Download Synchronicity Earth presentation here

ESG reporting frameworks – learning the ropes

Adepeju Adeosun Napier
Senior Manager, Sustainable Finance
Ernst & Young LLP
Panelist

Max Budra
Senior Consultant
Deloitte
Panelist

Emlyn Palmer
Head of ESG Investing
Albourne Partners
Panelist

Emily Forsyth-Davies
Head of ESG
Aurum Research Limited
Moderator

Against an ever-growing roster of frameworks, this panel demystifies the right way to approach and select frameworks focusing on: Where to start with the suite of available frameworks? Wh…
Against an ever-growing roster of frameworks, this panel demystifies the right way to approach and select frameworks focusing on:

  • Where to start with the suite of available frameworks? What is the best mindset and how to view them?
  • Best practice approach for The Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures
  • How to approach the crucial question around net zero
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Building a sustainable future – anchoring ESG into firm culture

Scarlett Brown
Director
Board Intelligence Think Tank
Panelist

Shannon Murphy
Managing Director and the Head of Strategic Content
Jeffries
Panelist

Nick Spencer
Sustainable Investment Advisor
Gordian Advice
Panelist

Kevin Gundle
Director, Chief Executive Officer
Aurum Research Limited
Moderator

In a rapidly evolving world, stakeholder expectations are developing at a swift pace. This panel discussion focuses on the key challenges to address when successfully implementing sustainability: …
In a rapidly evolving world, stakeholder expectations are developing at a swift pace. This panel discussion focuses on the key challenges to address when successfully implementing sustainability:

  • Board challenges around composition and competence
  • Shareholder and investor focus on these issues from both a cultural and investment perspective
  • How to change mindsets, focus thinking and drive change
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Closing session

Kevin Gundle
Director, Chief Executive Officer
Aurum Research Limited

Five key items to implement for a better future….
Five key items to implement for a better future.
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Speakers

Adepeju Adeosun Napier

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Senior Manager, Sustainable Finance
Ernst & Young LLP

Adepeju is Senior Manager in UK Sustainable Finance leading engagement on ESG and Climate for financial services with particular focus on private and alternative assets. She also drives EY’s wider...
Adepeju is Senior Manager in UK Sustainable Finance leading engagement on ESG and Climate for financial services with particular focus on private and alternative assets. She also drives EY’s wider solutions around Net Zero, Climate risk and Just Transition for Financial services. Previous experience includes impact investment, climate innovation, as well ESG engagement and stewardship activities.

Before joining EY, Adepeju was the Virgin Group Net Zero & Sustainability Manager. In this role she provided strategic and technical ESG expertise to support investment activities and engage portfolio companies across sectors on their material ESG issues. She previously led the management of a $25 million climate change innovation prize focused on scaling both nature and technology-based carbon removal solutions.

Adepeju has an MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures from Imperial College London and a BEng in Chemical Engineering from University College London. She also co-authored a 2015 Nature Climate Change Publication titled “Investing in Negative Emissions” which focused on outlining the key barriers to investment and scale-up to carbon removal solutions.
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Scarlett Brown

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Director
Board Intelligence Think Tank

Dr Scarlett Brown is Director of the Board Intelligence Think Tank, whose mission is to enable business leaders to create a fairer future. It does this by providing independent insight and collaborati...
Dr Scarlett Brown is Director of the Board Intelligence Think Tank, whose mission is to enable business leaders to create a fairer future. It does this by providing independent insight and collaborative action through its community of business leaders. Scarlett is passionate about helping organisations have better, evidence-based practice, and making every business a force for good in society.

Before this, Scarlett was an independent researcher, working with organisations such as CIPD, University of Oxford, Company Matters and Sapphire Partners to lead research and insights into responsible business and corporate governance. Previously she was Director of Research at Tomorrow’s Company, and a senior governance analyst at Grant Thornton. Her book, “Gender and Corporate Boards” was published last year, based on her PhD research into how non-executives are recruited, and the barriers to boardroom diversity. In her free time, she is a non-executive director and a trustee, and spends an unreasonable amount of time listening to Prince.
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Catherine Bryan

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Trustee
Synchronicity Earth

Catherine embraced her growing interest in the environment in 2014, taking on pro-bono work at Synchronicity Earth, having previously worked in the finance sector. She became a trustee of Synchronicit...
Catherine embraced her growing interest in the environment in 2014, taking on pro-bono work at Synchronicity Earth, having previously worked in the finance sector. She became a trustee of Synchronicity Earth in 2015 and took on the role of CEO in 2017. Having led the team in delivering significant growth in grant funding across a range of biodiversity programmes she stepped down in December 2019 to revert to her trustee role. She continues to use her experience of strategy development and managing organisational growth at Synchronicity Earth as well as in her role as a trustee at the Environmental Funders Network. She has a particular interest in shifting decision making in the finance sector to properly consider biodiversity impacts and risks and moving to a sustainable economic system where people and the environment thrive.
Catherine worked at J.P Morgan in both the foreign exchange and equity derivatives groups until 1998. As Managing Director and Head of Equity Derivative Trading globally, she was also a member of the J.P. Morgan Risk Committee. She then took a career break returning to the financial markets to undertake project work in 2012 before moving to the conservation sector in 2014. She has a degree in Chemistry from Oxford University.
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Max Budra

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Senior Consultant
Deloitte

Max is a Senior Consultant in Deloitte’s Sustainable Finance team. Prior to joining Deloitte, Max spent four years at the Alternative Investment Management Association, where he specialised in the i...
Max is a Senior Consultant in Deloitte’s Sustainable Finance team. Prior to joining Deloitte, Max spent four years at the Alternative Investment Management Association, where he specialised in the implementation of responsible investment in the hedge fund industry. Working with alternative investment managers, investors, and investment consultants, Max wrote a series of guides on responsible investment and alternative investment management, including on the use of short selling to hedge against ESG risks.

A native of Vancouver, Canada, Max holds an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics.
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Áine Clarke

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KnowTheChain and Investor Strategy
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Áine is head of KnowTheChain and Investor strategy at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, a position she has newly joined after working with the Responsible Investment NGO ShareAction on i...
Áine is head of KnowTheChain and Investor strategy at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, a position she has newly joined after working with the Responsible Investment NGO ShareAction on its programme, the Workforce Disclosure Initiative. Whilst there, she built a coalition of investors pushing for increased corporate transparency, disclosure and accountability around workforce practices, human and labour rights – part of the S of ESG. She has also recently completed a secondment with the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), developing the draft standards for the CSRD.
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Ray Dhirani

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Head of Climate and Sustainable Finance
Wallbrook

Ray is a sustainability professional and leads Wallbrook’s effort on climate as well as on sustainable finance. He joined us after a decade at WWF, the global environmental NGO, where he led the UK'...
Ray is a sustainability professional and leads Wallbrook’s effort on climate as well as on sustainable finance. He joined us after a decade at WWF, the global environmental NGO, where he led the UK's sustainable finance team. His focus at WWF was on spatial finance, policy and regulatory work on climate and environment, thematic leadership on areas such as biodiversity and food finance, deforestation risk, as well as broader systemic change in global finance.

Ray was instrumental in the production of Our Planet: Too Big to Fail, a multi award winning film produced by Silverback Films. Ray has also led projects for WWF with global pension funds on climate scenario modelling as well as successful engagement with the finance sector for protection of World Heritage Sites.

Previously, Ray spent eight years in the global markets division of Merrill Lynch in New York specializing in foreign exchange and short interest rates. He led senior relationships with hedge fund and real money clients from around the world and, later, also made markets and held risk positions for the global Bank.

Ray holds a BSc. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a MSc. in Environment & Development from the London School of Economics. He currently also sits on two non-executive boards. He is a member of Parmenion’s Ethical Oversight Committee as well as WHEB Asset Management’s Advisory Committee.

He speaks some Spanish, French, and Gujarati and when not delving into the exciting field of sustainable finance, can be found laughing somewhere with his two children, walking in nature, or playing a quick game of tennis.
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Mike Hoffmann

Head of Global Conservation Programmes
Zoological Society of London

Mike Hoffmann is a conservation biologist based at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) where he leads several large initiatives focused on wildlife recovery and monitoring. He has extensive experie...
Mike Hoffmann is a conservation biologist based at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) where he leads several large initiatives focused on wildlife recovery and monitoring. He has extensive experience in international species conservation and biodiversity-related policy, and has been involved in helping launch or support several major conservation partnerships, including the IUCN Red List and IUCN Green Status of Species, Key Biodiversity Areas, the Alliance for Zero Extinction, EDGE, SMART, the Universal Ranger Support Alliance and more. He has a particular interest in understanding and demonstrating how conservation efforts affect global trends in wildlife, and the actions needed to foster recovery into the future.
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Marcus Hurd

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Managing Director
ndapt

Marcus is a professional trustee, who has been solving pension problems for 25 years. He founded ndapt in 2020 with a focus on delivering positive change for pension funds, their sponsors, and the wor...
Marcus is a professional trustee, who has been solving pension problems for 25 years. He founded ndapt in 2020 with a focus on delivering positive change for pension funds, their sponsors, and the world around us.

ndapt has grown substantially over the last couple of years to 11 partners and 21 appointments. Their success is largely driven by a commercial approach to the management of pension funds and demonstrating tangible results for pension scheme members and their sponsors.
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Adam Jacobs-Dean

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Managing Director
Head of Markets Governance and Innovation, The Alternative Investment Management Association

Adam Jacobs-Dean joined The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) in February 2013 and is Managing Director, Global Head of Markets, Governance and Innovation. Prior to joining AIMA, he...
Adam Jacobs-Dean joined The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) in February 2013 and is Managing Director, Global Head of Markets, Governance and Innovation. Prior to joining AIMA, he worked at the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), where he focused on European regulatory initiatives dealing with OTC derivatives markets, notably the review of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID).
Adam started his career at the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA), where he worked in both policy and supervisory roles. He also undertook a number of projects for the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR). In 2009 he was seconded from the FSA to the European Commission in Brussels, where he worked on Solvency II.
Adam has an MA in German and French from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in European Policy and Management from Birkbeck.
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Fergus Moffatt

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Head of UK Policy
ShareAction

Fergus has extensive experience in public policy at UK and EU level, advocating for regulatory frameworks that help to create and maintain a sustainable and responsible investment system. He previousl...
Fergus has extensive experience in public policy at UK and EU level, advocating for regulatory frameworks that help to create and maintain a sustainable and responsible investment system. He previously worked as Head of Public Policy for the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association and in Westminster for a range of MPs during the Coalition Government. Joining in November 2018, Fergus leads on all of ShareAction’s UK policy output and engagement with government and regulators.
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Shannon Murphy

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Managing Director and the Head of Strategic Content
Jeffries

Shannon Murphy is a Managing Director and the Head of Strategic Content at Jefferies. She spearheads the thought leadership offering for alternatives managers and speaks frequently at industry events ...
Shannon Murphy is a Managing Director and the Head of Strategic Content at Jefferies. She spearheads the thought leadership offering for alternatives managers and speaks frequently at industry events on topics ranging from ESG/sustainability to changes in market structure or enterprise valuation. Prior to Jefferies, she oversaw the Prime Services Strategic Content offering at Credit Suisse. She also served as the Executive Director of Harvard’s Corporate Responsibility Initiative. She has degrees from MIT, Harvard Divinity School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Colgate University.
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Jacqueline Novogratz

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Founder and CEO
Acumen

Jacqueline Novogratz is the Founder and CEO of Acumen, which was established in 2001 to invest philanthropic patient capital in entrepreneurs seeking to solve the toughest issues of poverty, and a rec...
Jacqueline Novogratz is the Founder and CEO of Acumen, which was established in 2001 to invest philanthropic patient capital in entrepreneurs seeking to solve the toughest issues of poverty, and a recognized leader and innovator in the social impact sector. As a pioneer of impact investing, Acumen has invested more than $146 million of patient capital into 151 companies affecting the lives of nearly 400 million people across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. Acumen also has launched four for-profit funds, including KawiSafi, a nearly $70 million impact fund focused on off-grid solar energy in East Africa, and ARAF, a first-of-its-kind $58 million fund focused on helping smallholder farmers mitigate the impacts of climate change.

After supporting hundreds of entrepreneurs, Jacqueline and her team understand that character is a crucial ingredient for success. In 2020, they launched Acumen Academy to support leaders on their journey of global social change. To date, the organization has built a corps of 1000+ Fellows, and more than 500,000 individuals from 193 countries have taken Acumen Academy’s online courses.

As the New York Times best-selling author of The Blue Sweater and Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World, Jacqueline also sits on the board of the Aspen Institute and 60 Decibels, as well as on a variety of advisory boards. She has been named one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy, one of the 25 Smartest People of the Decade by the Daily Beast, and one of the world’s 100 Greatest Living Business Minds by Forbes, which also honoured her with the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship. She lives in New York with her husband.
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Emlyn Palmer

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Head of ESG Investing
Albourne Partners

Emlyn joined Albourne in 2019 and was appointed to lead the development of Albourne’s ESG Investing offerings in July 2020. Emlyn has spent over 20 years in various senior roles in the Alternative I...
Emlyn joined Albourne in 2019 and was appointed to lead the development of Albourne’s ESG Investing offerings in July 2020. Emlyn has spent over 20 years in various senior roles in the Alternative Investments industry mostly at Saguenay Strathmore Capital, a fund of funds manager and advisor, where he was Partner and COO. He was founding COO of Endeavour Capital Management, a relative value fixed income hedge fund, from 2000 to 2003. Prior to joining Albourne, Emlyn was at Keomo Investments, a company he founded principally to originate investments in Sub-Saharan Africa, and also CFO of Copper Street Capital. He has a B.Eng (Hons) from Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone and an MSc in Business & Management Research from Henley Business School, the University of Reading. Emlyn is a Chartered Accountant (FCA), having trained at Deloitte in London during the early 1990s.
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Nick Spencer

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Sustainable Investment Advisor
Gordian Advice

Nick is a sustainable investment strategist. He founded Gordian Advice which helps UK Pension Funds integrate responsible investment into their investment strategies and portfolios. Gordian Advice cur...
Nick is a sustainable investment strategist. He founded Gordian Advice which helps UK Pension Funds integrate responsible investment into their investment strategies and portfolios. Gordian Advice currently works with a range of corporate DB, LGPS and DC clients who are responsible for £80bn in assets.

Nick is an IFoA council member, he is the Immediate Past Chair of the IFoA’s Sustainability Board and was co-chair of the IFoA’s climate-related risks taskforce. He recently co-authored a paper on “Climate scenario analysis – An illustration of potential long-term economic & financial market impacts” as well as the DCIF Good Citizen’s Guide to ESG. Nick is a founding member of Actuaries for Transformational Change, and a member of the Biodiversity Working Party.

Nick is a passionate believer in the importance of values and culture and an advocate for aligning the asset management industry with a broader societal purpose. He was Co-Chair of Russell Investments’ EMEA Diversity & Inclusion Committee and is an Ambassador for the Diversity Project.
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Judith Twentyman

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Head of Finance and Risk
Synchronicity Earth

Judith joined Synchronicity Earth in October 2018. She is a Chartered Accountant with 25 years’ experience in finance having held senior roles in both the commercial sector at PriceWaterhouseCoopers...
Judith joined Synchronicity Earth in October 2018. She is a Chartered Accountant with 25 years’ experience in finance having held senior roles in both the commercial sector at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Laporte plc and in the charitable sector as Chief Financial Officer of Impetus – The Private Equity Foundation and Chief Operating Officer of StreetDoctors. Judith is also a Trustee of Tree Aid. She has an MSc from London University in Environmental Management and is firmly committed to protecting the environment and to the third sector.
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Hosts

Kevin Gundle

Aurum Research Limited, Director, Chief Executive Officer

Kevin is a founding member of Aurum Fund Management Ltd. and Chief Executive Officer of Aurum Funds Limited (“AFL”) and Aurum Research Limited (“ARL”), the research arm of the Aurum Group. He ...
Kevin is a founding member of Aurum Fund Management Ltd. and Chief Executive Officer of Aurum Funds Limited (“AFL”) and Aurum Research Limited (“ARL”), the research arm of the Aurum Group. He is also a Director of several of Aurum’s Bermuda listed offshore funds. Kevin has been investing in the alternative investment industry for almost 30 years and oversees ARL’s research, risk and investment processes. Kevin is a patron of the One to One Children’s Fund and co-founder of Ark. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) degree in Computer & Control Engineering.
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Adam Sweidan

Aurum Research Limited, Director, Chief Investment Officer

Adam is a founding member of Aurum Fund Management Ltd. (“AFML”) and Chief Investment Officer of Aurum Funds Limited and Aurum Research Limited, the research arm of the Aurum Group. Adam is also a...
Adam is a founding member of Aurum Fund Management Ltd. (“AFML”) and Chief Investment Officer of Aurum Funds Limited and Aurum Research Limited, the research arm of the Aurum Group. Adam is also a Director of several of Aurum’s Bermuda offshore funds. Adam has been investing in the alternative investment industry since 1993. Adam is Chairman of Synchronicity Earth – a UK-based Charity which aims to scale up and deepen the impact of environmental philanthropy. Adam is also Patron of Nature for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and an Honorary Conservation Fellow of ZSL (Zoological Society of London). Adam graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.
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Emily Forsyth-Davies

Aurum Research Limited, Head of ESG

Emily joined ARL in 2020 as Head of Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) and is responsible for Aurum’s ESG approach, from both a corporate and investment perspective. Prior to joining A...
Emily joined ARL in 2020 as Head of Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) and is responsible for Aurum’s ESG approach, from both a corporate and investment perspective. Prior to joining ARL, Emily worked at River and Mercantile Solutions for six years, where she was a pensions investment consultant specialising in ESG. Emily provided regulated investment advice to UK pensions schemes and was a founding member of the Group ESG Committee, where she helped to shape both the corporate and client approaches to ESG. She is a qualified actuary and holds the CFA UK Certificate in ESG Investing.
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