Event Recap: How to Monetize the Business Case for Sustainability with Serge Younes

In February 2021, the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business hosted a virtual event for alumni in sustainable finance entitled, "How to Monetize the Business Case for Sustainability (ROSI)." During the event, Tensie Whelan, CSB Director, and Serge Younes, Head of Sustainability at Investindustrial, a European private equity leader in Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG), discussed their collaboration on adopting CSB's Return on Sustainability Investment (ROSI) methodology to measure the financial impact of Investindustrial's sustainability initiatives.

Younes shared how Investindustrial uses ROSI to track the financial yields of their portfolio companies' sustainability-driven models. Typically, the firm engages with their portfolio companies to integrate sustainability across business operations over a 3 year period, by advising executives on how to adopt ROSI as a tool for increasing their valuation.

Some additional takeaways include:
  • Companies have resource efficiency data but don't typically look at it through a sustainability lens.
  • It is important to engage the Chief Financial Officer in tracking sustainability metrics for financial return.
  • ROSI can be used to quantify Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion issues by leveraging metrics such as the workforce turnover rate.
  • Investors should be asking for ESG disclosures alongside typical financial ones.