Cornell Launches Innovative Environmental Finance & Impact Investing Fellows Program

9/2/2011 12:55:00 PM

Program aims to train Cornell graduate students for emerging opportunities at the intersection of sustainability, the environment, and finance


Cornell University’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, in collaboration with the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs (CIPA), announces the launch of its fellows program in Environmental Finance & Impact Investing (EFII). This is the first program of its kind to be jointly offered by any graduate school of business and graduate program in public affairs.

Through a series of courses, coupled with applied projects, EFII Program Fellows will be trained to invest in, manage, or regulate businesses or projects seeking financial, environmental, and/or social goals.  Fellows will gain experience in a range of topics, including finance and analytics, markets and regulation, science and technology, and economic and political analysis. In addition, they will be required to engage in professional learning opportunities that will include internships and hands-on, applied projects with investors, industry, government, and the NGO community. Graduate students must apply to be EFII Fellows.

“Today, sustainability, the environment, and finance are coming together in new and compelling ways,” said Mark Milstein, director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise. “It is critical that academic institutions like Cornell ensure our graduates are able to use financial acumen to help finance technologies and business that generate value through the improvement of society and the environment.”

Recent reports from Monitor Institute, JP Morgan, and the Rockefeller Foundation suggest that over the next decade impact investing could represent trillions of dollars of assets under management, requiring the application of rigorous financial skills to projects and ventures related to a diversity of issues, including project financing to address climate change, ecosystem services, and poverty alleviation.

 “This program represents a bold new partnership between the public and private sectors that will enhance our understanding of the most difficult environmental challenges facing our country and our world,” noted Thomas O’Toole, Executive Director of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA).   “The roles we hope students in this program will assume after graduation will serve as a testament to the innovative educational strategies of Johnson and CIPA, as well as the ability of our students to leverage their skills as assets to international organizations, financial services firms, and consultancies.”

Mark E. DeAngelis, professional in residence at CIPA, and CEO of Macro Climate Solutions, LLC, a principal investment and advisory firm in New York City, played a key role in developing the structure and content of the new fellows program.

 “Effective investment in this space requires private- and public-sector professionals, who have expertise and training in a unique and diverse set of subject areas,” he said.  “The EFII program is specifically structured to train the leaders, investors, managers, and regulators needed to tackle the challenges and goals of climate change and energy security and independence.”

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