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The AIF Institute Launches the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing

AIF Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing. AIF Institute logo. Photo of New York City and bridge, sun; Bringing customized education to institutional investors globally

The AIF Institute Launches the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing

Founding faculty member Natixis Investment Managers joins Center Faculty Board to collaborate on ESG initiatives with institutional investors globally

March 12, 2021

The AIF Institute officially launched the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing with its inaugural faculty board meeting.  The AIF Institute’s second of four Centers of Excellence launching in 2021 will address top priorities within the investor community and provide leading, actionable research in key focus areas, including climate, governance, and diversity through the lens of risk management and investment opportunity.  Natixis Investment Managers, a leader in ESG investing which is among the world’s largest asset management firms, will serve as a founding faculty member for the development of the AIF Institute’s new Center, along with BlackRock, an industry leader in sustainable investing and stewardship.

“The creation of the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing comes at a time when investors are increasingly recognizing, prioritizing, and integrating ESG and sustainability in their investment programs and portfolios,” says Melissa Waller, President of the AIF Institute.

“This is evidenced by ESG remaining an integral component of the curriculum and investor-led discussions through both AIF Global and AIF Institute initiatives,” she continues.  “The Center will further these key discussions, emphasizing education, research, and data, and foster pragmatic approaches to ESG among investors.”

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“We are proud to serve as a founding faculty member with the AIF Institute on this important initiative to bring ESG research and education to investors,“ said Harald Walkate, Head of ESG at Natixis Investment Managers, who will join the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing Faculty Board.

“The rapid global adoption of ESG underscores the need for investors to have clear objectives and evidence-based insights in order to select the ESG approaches that will contribute to effective capital allocation. We believe the new AIF Institute Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing will be an excellent independent resource to support those efforts.”

Aligned with the AIF Institute’s mission, the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing will cultivate leading academic research, along with thought leadership, in the investment industry across both the public and private sectors.  Specifically, the Centers will place a primary focus on practical application and outcomes to support institutional investors globally in navigating, shaping, and integrating ESG and sustainability policies with the creation of innovation labs.

As Waller explains, “Cornerstone to each of the Centers of Excellence will be the innovation labs, where investors will actively engage with AIF Institute faculty to develop education and research that meet the evolving needs and challenges with respect to their portfolios, leveraging the independent AIF platform with its foremost academic and industry resources.”

Sharmila Kassam, Executive Director of the AIF Institute, who will lead the development of the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing notes “We will begin our focus in the innovation labs on critical ESG aspects still developing in the industry, including measurement and data, climate factors, benchmarking, implementation models, and ESG-focused investment policies—resulting from our dialogue with over 50 of the world’s largest institutional investors this  Center’s first faculty board meeting.”

The AIF Institute is launching four Centers of Excellence in 2021 to continue to meet investor needs globally, including the Center for Insurance, Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing, Center for Private Capital Investing, and the newly announced Center for Financial Innovation.

About AIF Global and the AIF Institute

AIF Global is an independent economic think tank with the mission of fostering the exchange of best ideas, practices, and information among institutional investors globally to help them achieve their investment objectives.  Since its inception five years ago, the AIF Institute, the educational arm of AIF Global, has been at the forefront of providing customized education to institutional investors globally. Recently, the AIF Institute announced its fourth consecutive educational program partnership with the National Institute of Public Finance, which brings together the world’s leading public finance experts for an intense curriculum.  Through this collaboration, the AIF Institute helped create the nation’s first Certificate in Public Treasury Management (CPTM) program.

About Natixis Investment Managers

Natixis Investment Managers serves financial professionals with more insightful ways to construct portfolios. Powered by the expertise of more than 20 specialized investment managers globally, we apply Active Thinking® to deliver proactive solutions that help clients pursue better outcomes in all markets. Natixis Investment Managers ranks among the world’s largest asset management firms1 with nearly $1.4 trillion assets under management2 (€1,135.5 billion).

Headquartered in Paris and Boston, Natixis Investment Managers is a subsidiary of Natixis. Listed on the Paris Stock Exchange, Natixis is a subsidiary of BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France. Natixis Investment Managers’ affiliated investment management firms include AEW; Alliance Entreprendre; AlphaSimplex Group; DNCA Investments;3 Dorval Asset Management; Flexstone Partners; Gateway Investment Advisers; H2O Asset Management; Harris Associates; Investors Mutual Limited; Loomis, Sayles & Company; Mirova; MV Credit; Naxicap Partners; Ossiam; Ostrum Asset Management; Seeyond; Seventure Partners; Thematics Asset Management; Vauban Infrastructure Partners; Vaughan Nelson Investment Management; Vega Investment Managers;4 and WCM Investment Management. Additionally, investment solutions are offered through Natixis Investment Managers Solutions, and Natixis Advisors offers other investment services through its AIA and MPA division. Not all offerings available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit Natixis Investment Managers’ website at | LinkedIn:

1 Cerulli Quantitative Update: Global Markets 2020 ranked Natixis Investment Managers as the 17th largest asset manager in the world based on assets under management as of December 31, 2019.

2 Assets under management (“AUM”) as of December 31, 2020 is $1,389.7 billion. AUM, as reported, may include notional assets, assets serviced, gross assets, assets of minority-owned affiliated entities and other types of non-regulatory AUM managed or serviced by firms affiliated with Natixis Investment Managers.

3 A brand of DNCA Finance.

4 A wholly-owned subsidiary of Natixis Wealth Management.

About BlackRock

BlackRock’s purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, we help millions of people build savings that serve them throughout their lives by making investing easier and more affordable. For additional information on BlackRock, please visit