The Zarb School’s Center for International Financial Services and Markets recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a symposium on sustainable business practices that brought together faculty, students and industry experts to examine emerging trends in environmentally conscious reporting, compliance, and investing.
Steve Lyndenberg, a keynote speaker and founder and CEO of The Investment Integration Project (TIIP), stressed the importance of finance to sustainable initiatives.
“Finance should be to the ultimate benefit of society and should follow a multitude of stages including integration into security valuation, application across asset classes, and social entrepreneurship,” Lyndenberg said. “Sustainability is the future of responsible investment.”
Another keynote speaker, Catherine Banat, portfolio manager, impact investing, RBC Global Asset Management, emphasized that socially conscience business practices are the best way for a company to gain traction and ensure a strong financial performance.
“Doing well (financial return), and doing good (social return) are anything but mutually exclusive,” Banat said.
The day-long symposium also featured panel discussions focusing on emerging trends of sustainability reporting and compliance. The “reporting framework principle” often encourages leaders to outperform their competitive peers through improvement of efficiency and the attainment of a lower turnover rate for employees.
“Sustainability is an all-encompassing and growing field during which the environment and governance must be taken into account,” said Dr. Edward Zychowicz, PhD, co-director of the Center and a finance professor. “Students have the opportunity to learn first-hand from these industry experts as they prepare to enter into their careers. They are the future of sustainability and will influence the impact it has on the environment and the future of business.”
Dr. Nancy White, PhD, also a center co-director, agreed.
“It is imperative that students maintain and cultivate a culture of sustainability for the next generation of business,” White said. “Sustainability in business must always be assessed to ensure that companies and society commingle in a correlation that is beneficial to the future of the environment.”
Second year-MBA finance student, Cindy Yu called the symposium “a very eye-opening experience.”
“It made me think about my own responsibility of maintaining the environment from a business perspective,” she said. “Knowing the issues at hand is not sufficient on its own….acting on them and making a positive impact both personally and professionally is paramount to the future of business and our world as a whole.”