Athena's Lisette Cooper and Jeff Finkelman Discuss PE's ESG Efforts in FundFire
July 2016 - On July 20, FundFire, a publication of the Financial Times, included commentary from Athena Capital Advisors Founder, CEO and Chief Investment Officer Dr. Lisette Cooper, and Research Associate, Impact Investing, Jeff Finkelman, in an article that explored the growing use of ESG criteria among private equity firms.
The article, “KKR Push Leads to ESG Crossroads,” specifically focused on the re-framing of KKR’s ESG efforts in a bid to keep up with growing investor interest in sustainable practices, while discussing more broadly ESG practices among PE firms. ESG, of course, refers to Environmental, Social, and Governance screens used by investors to facilitate responsible investment strategies.
“It’s the right direction for private equity firms,” Cooper told FundFire reporter Tom Stabile. Cooper explained the spectrum of sustainable options for investors, from basic ESG screening and more straight-forward sustainability reporting to impact investments.
Cooper said the movement to ESG adoption is driven in part by the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. “The asset owners are asking for the [PRI] data, and the managers are having to provide it,” she said.
Finkelman noted that ESG or impact-themed private equity funds tend to be less prevalent than other asset classes.
The full article is available for FundFire subscribers here.
With more than a decade of experience in impact investing, Athena has established a successful track record in helping clients align their investment portfolios to their social values. The firm accomplishes this through a systematic and reportable approach that can be understood by a variety of constituencies.
Dr. Lisette Cooper founded Athena in 1993. As Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer, she sets the firm’s overall direction and leads Athena’s Investment Committee.
Jeff Finkelman, meanwhile, focuses exclusively on socially-responsible, ESG and impact investing across all asset classes. Working closely with Athena’s Portfolio Managers, Jeff helps identify and assess investment opportunities aligned with client values.