ESG and Impact Investing Across Asset Classes

The NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business and Goldman Sachs hosted a panel discussion on how investors across fixed income, public equity, and private equity investing strategies integrate ESG and impact into investment decisions.

ESG and impact investing is not 'one size fits all.' Investors in different types of asset classes are exploring and integrating ESG principles into investment decisions, and using it to drive value as well as impact.

In this discussion, we heard from panelists who work across a spectrum of asset classes and investing strategies; they provided insight on ESG integration, impact investment strategies, trends in the industry and plans for future growth, and offer perspectives on career opportunities in the field.

Welcoming Remarks
Kyung-Ah Park, Managing Director, Head of Environmental Markets, Goldman Sachs & Co.

Tensie Whelan, Director, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business

Lee Gao, Co-Portfolio Manager, Imprint Emerging Markets Equity Fund, Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Ailene Holderness, Vice President, Pegasus Capital Advisors
Jessica Zarzycki, Senior Director, Co-Portfolio Manager, and Global Sovereigns & Emerging Markets Fixed Income Research Analyst, Nuveen

Speaker Bios

Lee Gao is the Co-Portfolio Manager of the Imprint Emerging Markets Equity Fund, recently acquired by Goldman Sachs Asset Management. He has been investing in emerging markets for more than a decade. Lee had helped to manage the fund while at GCA Investment Management and Caravel Management, where it was incubated as the first fund to invest in public equities in both emerging and frontier markets with full ESG integration. Before Caravel, Lee was a portfolio manager at Visium’s Global Fund up to its proposed acquisition by AllianceBernstein. Prior to that, he invested in Asia as a co-founder and director of Greyson Capital Management and covered the region as an analyst at Joho Capital, both investment management firms with Tiger Management background. Lee started his career at J.P. Morgan in investment banking and holds an A.B. in economics from Harvard College. He also serves as a Guide at the Resolution Project and mentors global leaders of environmental and social ventures.

Ailene Holderness is a Vice President at Pegasus. Prior to joining Pegasus, she worked for the family office of Donald B. Marron, where she invested in private companies in the consumer & retail, e-commerce, technology and real estate industries.  She was previously an investment professional at Kohlberg & Company and Citigroup. She graduated with High Distinction from the University of Michigan with a B.B.A. from the Ross School of Business. She currently serves on the boards of the following Pegasus portfolio companies: Organix Recycling and Phase Change.

Kyung-Ah Park is a Managing Director and the Head of Environmental Markets at Goldman Sachs. In that capacity, she manages and supports the global environmental initiatives of Goldman Sachs with a focus on driving market solutions that address critical environmental issues. The firm’s key initiatives include mobilizing $150 billion in clean energy financing and investment, catalyzing innovative green bonds, expanding ESG and impact investing, and a 100% renewable energy procurement target, among others. Kyung-Ah also heads the Center for Environmental Markets, which partners with corporates, nongovernmental organizations, and academic institutions to facilitate research and develop pilot projects that inform public policy and further environmental market-based solutions. In addition, she helps oversee environmental risk management across transactions and sits on the Firmwide Physical Commodity Review Committee. Previously, she was a vice president in the Industrials Group in the Investment Banking Division and an executive director of Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC. Kyung-Ah joined Goldman Sachs in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department in New York. Prior to Goldman Sachs, Kyung-Ah worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in Seoul, Korea, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Kyung-Ah earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. Kyung-Ah serves on the Board of Directors of Resources for the Future and Girls Inc. of NYC.

Jessica Zarzycki, CFA, is a Senior Director, Co-Portfolio Manager, and Global Sovereigns and Emerging Markets Fixed Income Research Analyst for Nuveen. She is an integral part of the fixed income responsible investing portfolio management team and C0-PM on TIAA-CREF Green Bond Strategy and TIAA-CREF Short Duration Impact Strategy. As a member of the global sovereigns team, she is responsible for sovereigns and local markets throughout Western Europe and Central Eastern Europe. Prior to joining the firm in 2008, she worked at Citi Global Wealth Management (GWM) in the Treasury department where she helped to manage the liquidity, interest rate, and fx risk. During her tenure at TIAA Investments she has also covered developed market sovereigns, agencies, and agency MBS. Jessica graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from The Ohio State University. She holds the CFA designation and is a member of the CFA Society New York and the CFA Institute.