Event Recap: Embedding Sustainability at the UN's Pension Fund

Herman Bril and logo
In October 2020, the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business hosted its third gathering of the NYU and NYU Stern Sustainable Finance Alumni Group. The group heard from Herman Bril, the Director of United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) on how he engages with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues and integrates them into the UN's investment strategies. 

Herman Bril joined the UNJSPF as Director in June of 2016.  Mr. Bril has 25 years of experience in international financial institutions in multiple countries, he possesses broad level expertise encompassing asset management, pension funds, life insurance, investment banking, derivatives trading, and treasury operations.

Best Practices from Herman Bril:
  • Make sure that you have articulated your Investment Beliefs about Sustainable Investing
  • Implementing ESG for asset owners and managers is a journey in an emerging field. But that should not stop you from embarking on the journey
  • Implementing ESG requires a culture of innovation and learning. Embracing new technology and alt-data is necessary requirement
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. It is all about cooperation and partnerships
  • Critical success factor is leadership and change management. The soft side is the hardest part and you have to manage three key streams simultaneously:  
    • Informational (technology & data etc.)
    • Behavioral (biases, different beliefs, etc.)
    • Corporate culture (purpose of the firm and values)
Recommended readings:
About the Sustainable Finance Alumni Group
Since our founding four years ago, the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business has identified 400+ alumni working in sustainability-related fields, with a majority in positions related to finance, focusing on issues related to ESG, data and transparency, impact investing, green bonds, and more. We're delighted to have recently launched our Alumni in Sustainable Finance group to provide a forum for alumni to share and discuss thought leadership, compare best practices, and network to advance their careers in the field.

Thank you to our organizing committee: Eric Berger (MBA '08), SVP, Wealth Management, UBS; Casey Clark (MBA '17), Managing Director, Head of ESG Investments, Rockefeller Capital Management; Kelly Moylan (MBA '81), Partner, Talamore Group; William Orum (MBA '10), Partner, Capricorn Investment Group; Suma Swaminathan (MBA '15), VP, Private Equity at Developing World Markets; and Brace Young (MBA '83), Partner, Arabesque.

Please reach out to sustainablebusiness@stern.nyu.edu with any questions about the NYU and NYU Stern Sustainable Finance Alumni Group.