Esty at Climate Week: A review of key engagements

Photo: The Climate Group

Coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Climate Week was held September 18th to 24th. High-level events featured a number of discussions on energy, sustainability finance and how the world is going to collectively meet the goals of recent international agreements such as the Paris Accord and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dan Esty moderated a series of critical events over the course of the week, a summary of which is below. For additional information, please see Climate Week’s website, or related event coverage as noted below.

On Sunday, September 17th, Esty hosted the Yale Environmental Dialogue’s (YED’s) inaugural event, in his capacity as chair of the YED Committee. This first event featured Esty in conversation with Former French Foreign Minister and Chair of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Negotiations Laurent Fabius, and focused on how to maintain momentum moving forward.

Esty moderated the opening session of Climate Week on Monday September 18th in New York City. The event, summarized here, explored the role of states, cities, and businesses in implementing the Paris Agreement. With a distinguished panel of government and business leaders, Esty explored how political and corporate leadership on climate are already making a difference. The panel featured Jerry Brown, Governor of California; Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec; Stephen Badger, Chairman of the Board of Mars; Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington; and David Ige, Governor of Hawaii.

The following day, Tuesday September 19th, Esty headlined a panel at CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project). Alongside Lance Pierce, President of CDP and Ion Yadigaroglu, Managing Principal and Capricorn Investment Group, Esty discussed the impact of the Trump Administration on the climate movement, examining short- and long-term implications of the Presidency to date. The event also highlighted where and how decision-making can relate back to climate action, both in terms of citizens’ day to day choices, as well as those surrounding corporate strategy, investments, governance and policy.

On Wednesday, Esty made an appearance on behalf of Constellation Research and Technology at Bryan Cave LLP, which hosted a discussion on environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics. The event, “New Directions in Sustainable Investing: Using innovative ESG metrics to reinforce the Paris Climate Change Agreement,” was co-organized with oekom research and Thomson Reuters. Participants identified improved ways to gauge sustainability leadership and systematically connect financial and ESG metrics to deliver both financial performance and sustainability outcomes.

Rounding out the week, Esty opened the Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance (YISF) & Journal of Environmental Investing (JEI) Symposium, held at the Yale School of Management. The event was generously sponsored by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, as well as Barclays, Brown Advisory, Calvert, Impax, MSCI, UBS and Robrta G. Gordon. The full agenda for the symposium is available here, and a summary write-up is available here.