Who will shape the private markets landscape when it comes to sustainability, impact and ESG in 2023? New Private Markets has pulled together a list of eight individuals we believe are in a position to make a meaningful impact this year. They come from across the private capital ecosystem; some will create an impact by wielding influence over large pools of capital, while others will develop the frameworks which help define sustainable investment.
Cathrine Armour, Principles for Responsible Investment
Cathrine Armour is chief reporting officer of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment, which has just released its updated reporting framework. PRI signatories’ reporting obligations are set to re-open in May after a hiatus of more than two years. In previous years, the PRI’s annual questionnaire consumed a large amount of ESG teams’ time and resources. And since the PRI’s last reporting cycle, new sustainability frameworks and disclosure obligations have arrived. Against this shifting backdrop, Armour will be accountable for the revised reporting framework being functional, resource-efficient and useful.
Martin Berg, Climate Asset Management
If investment in natural capital is a trend to watch, then Climate Asset Management is its poster child. As institutions of all stripes strive to align with net-zero pathways, they will in many cases need to access carbon credits. As CIO of the firm’s Nature-based Carbon Strategy, Martin Berg is at the vanguard of this, responsible for deploying capital into projects that will generate carbon credits for CAM’s investors. The team made the first investment for the strategy last year, backing the Restore Africa Programme, which aims to restore nearly 2 million hectares of land and directly support 1.5 million smallholder farming families across six African countries. The vehicle, which has a $600 million target, had raised roughly half of that by the end of 2022, a source told New Private Markets, and is expected to hold a final close this year.
Greg Fischer, Boston Consulting Group
Emissions data: as many in private markets are wrestling with it for regulatory or investor reporting requirements, a small group of firms is working out how to use it as tool in valuations. This group of private equity firms is developing a carbon valuation framework to help deal teams integrate carbon considerations into EBITDA and multiple calculations. This will take the thinking on carbon beyond reporting into the sphere of deal underwriting. At the heart of this effort is Boston Consulting Group’s London-based partner Greg Fischer. Formerly the chief economist at TPG’s Y Analytics, Fischer and team are working with a number of GPs’ deal teams on pilot programmes to integrate carbon pricing into valuations. As these pilots progress this year, we expect this to become a mainstream industry discussion point.
Samantha Hill, CPP Investments
Samantha Hill is a managing director for sustainable investing at Canadian Pension Plan Investments and, representing the CA$529 billion ($397 billion; €364 billion) investor, co-chairs the steering committee of the ESG Data Convergence Initiative. The EDCI has reached a critical mass, gathering more than 260 members in the first two years of its existence and establishing itself as the standard-setter for minimum ESG reporting by GPs. The next challenge for the EDCI’s steering committee is to raise the bar on its data points, while balancing struggles from GPs on data collection. Hill represents the LP perspective on the steering committee: identifying and proposing additional metrics, reviewing the annual results and benchmarks and rallying participation from other members.
Tom Jorgensen, North Sky Capital
Tom Jorgensen is a managing director at North Sky Capital and leads its secondaries impact strategy, which is targeting $350 million for its sixth fund. In a year in which impact and sustainability-related secondaries activity is predicted to take off, North Sky – which has been raising and investing secondaries impact capital since 2013 – is well positioned on the buyside. Jorgensen has been active in this niche for more than a decade and should have a busy 2023.
Pamela Pavkov, TPG NEXT
TPG NEXT is the private market giant’s platform for seeding diverse-owned asset managers. It is not unheard of for GPs to get into the business of seeding other asset managers, but NEXT represents an innovative answer to the question ‘What can an established GP do about the lack of diversity in the asset management industry?’ Having just secured a commitment of $500 million from the California Public Employees Retirement System for the strategy, TPG will keep raising capital this year with partner Pamela Pavkov at the helm. San Francisco-based Pavkov joined TPG in October having spent nearly 12 years of private equity investing and advising on philanthropy at Jasper Ridge Partners. Her progress at the head of this strategy will be keenly watched.
Elizabeth Seeger, IFRS Foundation
In the fragmented landscape of sustainability reporting standards, the announcement at COP 26 that the IFRS Foundation would establish the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) was a tectonic shift. The board was to take a disparate set of global reporting standards and consolidate them into one global baseline of sustainability disclosure. Elizabeth Seeger, a private markets sustainability veteran having spent more than 13 years at KKR, joined as one of the board’s 14 full-time members in 2022 to work primarily on the development and maintenance of the emerging standards. In H1 2023, the first two standards – one covering general sustainability disclosure and one covering climate – will be issued. The goal is for these standards to be adopted by jurisdictions around the world – as well as voluntarily by companies – to secure a common language for sustainability disclosures.
Andrew Siwo, New York State Common Retirement Fund
Andrew Siwo, a director at the New York State Common Retirement Fund, is one of impact investing’s biggest cheque-writers. NYSCRF has a $20 billion allocation to “sustainable investments and climate solutions (SICS)” and Siwo is at its helm. Last year, NYSCRF committed $750 million to the Brookfield Global Transition Fund – the largest-ever known third-party investment to an impact fund. “SICS represents a tapestry of investments that are loosely tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Siwo told New Private Markets in 2021. “Across the globe, we target nine themes split equally into three categories: human rights and social inclusion (eg, health and wellbeing); climate and the environment (eg, pollution and waste management); and economic development (eg, affordable housing).” The allocation covers public equities and green bonds as well as private equity and real asset investments. But as the cap on New York’s public pension funds alternative asset allocations has been raised from 25 percent to 35 percent in a recent state bill, the NYSCRF may have an even bigger appetite for private fund commitments with a ‘sustainable’ label this year.
Revisit our 2022 list of individuals with the potential to make an impact on sustainability in private markets.