Episode 6
Saadia Madsbjerg

Saadia is a global leader in the field of sustainable and impact investing. She and Judith Rodin co-authored the book “Making Money Moral: How a New Wave of Visionaries is Linking Purpose and Profit”. She is a former Managing Director of The Rockefeller Foundation where she led the foundation’s financial innovation program to channel money from the capital markets toward sustainable development. Prior to this she held senior positions on the strategy team for Cisco Systems and as a management consultant with McKinsey.
In this episode, Saadia discusses the drivers of recent momentum in sustainable investment, the importance of considering long term ‘resilience’ when investing and much more.

Momentum in ESG is being created by aligned incentives:

It used to be that the ESG conversation would go in circles. The public sector would say ‘no matter how we cut it, there just isn’t enough philanthropic and public money to achieve the sustainable development goals’. The private sector would say they had responsibilities to meet risk/return criteria for their shareholders that made it difficult to contribute more. What changed the conversation was the research and data showing that aims of the public and private sectors are not two separate things. In other words, if you don’t think about sustainability factors when you invest, you miss risks and opportunities that are material to shareholders.

Resilience helps society and business withstand material shocks:

In simple terms, resilience means building capacity for individuals, communities and societies to withstand and bounce back from shocks and stresses. This notion can be applied to many sustainability factors including weather and public health pandemics.

Leaders must embed responsible investment into culture:

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day noise but leaders need to address sustainability factors that are material to their businesses and treat them like any other strategic effort. This means putting a plan in place and staying focused on the long term.