C07 - Using Internal Sustainability Funds to Drive ESG Performance

Wednesday, November 20 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM | B308 « Back

Abstract Text:

Companies, campuses, and other organizations are increasingly investing in energy and sustainability improvements within their own operations. However, the upfront cost of these projects presents a significant barrier to implementing them at scale because of the many competing internal requests for capital. Some organizations turn to third-party financing to solve this problem, but not all are comfortable with or capable of accepting financing from an outside party. Others would prefer to use their own money to capture the full economic benefit of the project instead of paying back a portion to a lender. To that end, some organizations have formed internal funds to help structure their own investments in sustainability projects. These include revolving funds, carbon funds, capital expenditure funds, and other types of dedicated capital pools set aside for a specific purpose. These funds can help build a clear business case for sustainability, streamline the budgeting process, and demonstrate long-term commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. In this session, we will present the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s (RILA) and Sustainable Endowment Institute’s (SEI) research on internal sustainability funds, including the latest market data and best practices for setting up a fund based on dozens of industry interviews. The panelists will examine key market trends that are driving increased interest in sustainability funds and present fund design guidance. We’ll also discuss lessons learned by successful funds across sectors, including comments from a practitioner at Microsoft, which operates a market-leading carbon fund. The audience will come away with a clear understanding of the pros and cons of sustainability funds, the range of fund structures in use, and the steps they should follow to implement a successful fund at their own organization.

Learning Objectives:

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the major types of sustainability funds.

Understand the market trends that are driving increased interest in sustainability funds.

Learn from the experiences of Microsoft in implementing a successful sustainability fund.

Identify 5-10 next steps to successfully implement a sustainability fund in their organization.

Learning Level:



GBCI Credit Hours:
AIA Credit Hours:

Education Tracks: Building the Business Case

Event Type: Conference Session > Session