Leading EDGE Seminar

Leading Edge Seminar gray text-smallest


"Investing in Low Carbon Energy"
November 17, 2010, 12:30-4:30pm

This seminar explored the realities of institutional investment in a world of global investment possibilities for energy infrastructure.  For example, Deutsche Asset Management oversees nearly $700 billion in funds including nearly $7 billion in climate change products but a lack of U.S. climate regulations has resulted in only about $45 million in green investments originated in the U.S. in 2009.  In contrast, UNCTAD estimates that global investment into three key low-carbon business areas (renewables, recycling and low-carbon technology manufacturing) alone amounted to $90 billion in the same time period.  Clearly, there is a massive opportunity in the next 10 years to invest in meeting energy demands through installed alternative energy technologies, smart grid networks and energy efficiency, and these infrastructure decisions will have 50-year consequences.  However, many investors are still on the sidelines waiting for more government clarity on the rules of the game. Additionally, some investment situations are more complex: the World Bank’s approval of $3.7 billion in financing for ESKOM’s coal-fired power generation in South Africa demonstrates a classic case of trade-offs: dirty power versus energy access.

How can we understand the opportunities and challenges of investing for a low carbon energy future, especially in frontier and emerging markets?  This 4-hour seminar investigated the current dynamics in investment in low-carbon energy with two examples of investment in emerging markets in India and Africa.  More broadly, the seminar also examined the current state of sustainable investment in Brazil, India, China and Africa and if/how capital is flowing to investment for a low-carbon future economy. Students also engaged via teleconference with active investment managers for a Q&A session on the how investment decisions interact with broader sustainability objectives.

About the Speaker


graham_sinclairGraham Sinclair, Principal, SinCo

Graham Sinclair is a sustainable investment strategist, ESG investment architect and global project leader. His engagements model investment architecture integrating environmental, social and governance factors into investment strategy, processes and indexes. SinCo is the leading sustainable investment advisory boutique that designs and develops ESG architecture for institutional investors, international organizations and asset owners at the frontiers of sustainable investment. Since 2006 SinCo has delivered design and strategy for clients ranging from trillion-dollar investment managers to international organizations like the IFC, UN, and WBCSD.

Before joining KLD in Boston, he worked in pensions consulting and investment banking through 2002. Graham chairs the Prudential Assets Working Group of the investment industry group ASISA and leads the Africa Sustainable Investment Forum project. Graham has graduate degrees in business and law and lectures on sustainable investment at leading business schools in North America, Europe and Africa. He resides in Vermont, USA and Cape, South Africa.