Takeaways from the Responsible Investment Association Conference

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In today’s business landscape, the integration of sustainability is no longer a choice but a necessity. Companies that prioritize sustainability and actively address negative externalities are reaping significant benefits, both in terms of market valuation and long-term success. We recently attended the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) Conference 2023 in Toronto. The conference brought together industry leaders, ESG specialists, and professionals in the responsible investment space to discuss the future of sustainable investing. As a participant, YellowYellow gained valuable insights that are worth sharing with companies interested in sustainability. Here are our six key takeaways from the conference, shedding light on the importance of sustainability, collaboration, transparency, government support, urgency in action, and responsible mining practice:

  1. Valuing Sustainability: The market’s perception of sustainability has evolved significantly in recent years. Investors now recognize that companies that embrace sustainability not only mitigate risks but also foster innovation and achieve better financial results. By taking care of people, reducing environmental impacts, and addressing social challenges, impact-driven companies attract employees and investors who value long-term, sustainable growth.
  2. Collaboration for Effective Sustainability: The complex nature of sustainability challenges necessitates collaborative efforts and partnerships. Recognizing the interconnectivity of environmental and social issues, organizations must form broader alliances to address the needs of the planet and society. By collaborating effectively, stakeholders can share knowledge, pool resources, and co-create innovative solutions that have a lasting impact on sustainability.
  3. Transparency and Consistency: Pillars of Trust Operating in today’s rapidly evolving business environment requires transparency and consistency. Companies that operate at a higher level of transparency build trust with stakeholders, including investors, customers, and communities. Transparent reporting on sustainability efforts and progress demonstrates a firm commitment to responsible practices. Consistency in communication and actions ensures that sustainability remains a core value throughout the organization.
  4. Government Support for Long-Term Investment: Governments play a crucial role in creating an enabling environment for long-term investment approaches. Supportive policies and regulations can incentivize responsible business practices and enhance the overall investment climate for sustainable efforts. By aligning public initiatives with private sector goals, governments can help accelerate the transition to a sustainable future.
  5. Urgency in Action: The urgency to transition to a sustainable future has never been more evident. Setting credible targets, pursuing decarbonization efforts, and integrating sustainability into core business operations are critical components of this transformation. Companies that embrace sustainability must not only establish ambitious goals but also be transparent in reporting their progress and hold themselves accountable for meeting those targets.
  6. Responsible Mining Practices: The transition to a low-carbon economy relies heavily on critical minerals for various technologies. However, challenges exist in terms of production capacity and responsible extraction practices. Metals such as cobalt, copper, graphite, and tellurium are in high demand but require responsible mining standards to ensure their sustainable extraction. Aligning with initiatives like the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is crucial for the mining sector to operate responsibly.

Attending the RIA Conference 2023 has provided valuable insights into the responsible investment landscape, reinforcing the importance of sustainability, collaboration, transparency, government support, urgency in action, and responsible mining practices. As an ESG advisory firm, YellowYellow remains committed to helping organizations unlock ESG opportunities, mitigate risks, and develop sustainable strategies. By incorporating these key takeaways into our approach, we continue to guide leaders towards a more sustainable and responsible future, driving positive change for both businesses and the planet.

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Jeff Garcia-Seminario

Associate

He holds a Bachelor of Anthropology from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Peru) and a Masters in Science in Sustainability and Responsibility  (Ashridge Business School, UK).   As a lifelong learner, he recently completed a Global Business Management (High Honours) at Seneca College in Toronto. 

Jeff brings global experience in leading corporate social responsibility (CSR) and community engagement projects in the extractive sector.   Jeff excels in stakeholder mapping, community engagement, and conflict resolution.   Applying his private and public sector experiences, Jeff can bridge cultural and historical divides between extractive industries and their communities.  His areas of focus include food security, sustainable procurement, and good governance. Most recently, Jeff contributed to the development of an ESG strategy for a multi-national company.  

Jeff’s native language is Spanish. He enjoys morning runs in the neighbouring parks.

Kaitlyn D'Lima

Associate

Kaitlyn D’Lima holds both a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science and Sustainability Management degree from the University of Toronto.   She is also trained in greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting.

She brings extensive experience in sustainability and business transformational projects. She is known for her ability to execute projects of any size with both urgency and accuracy.   Kaitlyn has a natural talent for improving stakeholder engagement. She’s a real trailblazer when it comes to benchmarking and research.

Kaitlyn is a runner who participates in outdoor adventure races.

Arun Balu Pazhayannur

Advisor

Arun B Pazhayannur holds a degree in mechanical engineering and is a Chartered Accountant. He also has an MBA from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario. Along with his academic achievements, he has a thorough knowledge of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles, which he incorporates into his consulting work. 

Arun is well-known for his leadership abilities as well as his strong skills in data analysis, financial modeling, and operations management. He has been recognized for his ability to identify practical solutions and deliver value to clients ranging from banks to payment companies to software providers. Arun is also a past President of Toastmasters Club. 

In his free time, Arun enjoys scuba diving.In his spare time, Arun likes to scuba dive. 

Gregory Donovan

Senior Advisor

Gregory  Donovan is a Chartered Accountant. He is a Fundamentals of Sustainable Accounting (FSA) Credential Holder.  He obtained an Honours in Business Adminstrations (HBA) from the Ivey Business School (Western University) and a Master or Laws (LLM) from the London School of Economics. Gregory is the CEO of Avondale Private Capital, a sustainable finance firm focused on energy transition finance and carbon markets.  He has presented on these topics at conferences in Canada, the US and UK.  

Greg participates in the occasional triathlon and loves to go skiing and sailing with his two young children.

Margaux Loptson

Associate & US Operations Lead

Margaux Loptson holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and a Bachelor of Arts (Criminology) from Pennsylvania State University. In addition, she holds several research certifications, including Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

She has been an essential player in AI-powered teaching and learning projects as a User Experience (UX) lead.  Margaux is known for applying her design thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills to make a positive impact. She is a native French speaker

Margaux is a fitness enthusiast who can be found hiking around Central Park in NYC.

Ritika Jain

Associate / Responsible Supply Chain Lead

Ritika Jain holds a Masters in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management from Lund University (Sweden)  and a Bachelor of Technology from Indraprastha University (India). As a lifelong learner, she is pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Toronto.

Ritika is a recycling and responsible supply chain specialist.  Through her work, she collaborates with organizations to implement circular economy focused policies to ensure compliance with regulations.  

Her proficiency in data analytics and with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) enable her to manage complex sustainability data. Ritika also volunteers with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, engaging with youth to drive positive change.  

Ritika is a native Hindi speaker.  She is a certified hiking leader who enjoys travelling.

Jonathan Spence

Associate & Western Canada Operations Lead

Jonathan Spence holds an Honours Bachelor of Integrated Sciences (Earth and Environmental Sciences) from McMaster University and has his certification in Geographic Information Sciences from the ESRI Canada Center of Excellence at McMaster University. Jonathan worked as a research analyst in the environment and sustainability group for a TSX listed company.  

He is pursuing his Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, where he is researching the development of carbon capture techniques and their applications to the mining industry.  Jonathan is focused on helping companies to minimize their carbon footprint while supporting their economic growth.   

Jonathan is an avid water polo player and coach. He plays for the local National Championship League team. 

Gurnoor Gandhi

VP Business Development & Strategic Partnerships

Gurnoor Gandhi holds an MBA from Ivey Business School (Western University) and a postgraduate diploma in Maritime Energy Management (Sweden). Gurnoor brings experience with sustainability frameworks including TCFD, GRI, and CDP and is pursuing FSA credential (SASB). 

Gurnoor has global leadership experience in the shipping industry managing assets worth millions of dollars on the high seas and has led diverse teams worked in Monaco, Singapore, and India. Most recently, he led organizational development and client partnerships at CARD, a non-profit focused on rural development and renewable energy.

Gurnoor brings a blend of technical and leadership skills. He applied his knowledge of greenhouse gas accounting and carbon capture to support clients with niche energy transition projects. He is known for putting his problem-solving, stakeholder management, and project management skills to work to help firms expedite their ESG Journey. 

Gurnoor is a certified BMW adventure motorcyclist who finds off-road rides rejuvenating for body and spirit.  He enjoys hiking with his family.

Lisa-Annabel Ellis

Founder & CEO

Lisa Annabel Ellis holds an Honours Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Ivey Business School (Western University). She is a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP) with a Six Sigma Green Belt. Lisa is a Fundamentals of Sustainable Accounting (FSA) Level II Candidate. Applying her deep expertise in business and operational strategies, she has led award-winning transformational initiatives.

Drawing on her well-rounded science and finance expertise, she launched YellowYellow to help clients advance their sustainability practices. As an advocate of transparency and good governance, she partners with clients to understand their risks and opportunities to generate superior long-term value. Stakeholders across the value chain recognize the impact of this effort. She has been called upon to be a keynote speaker and lecturer.

Lisa is an advanced scuba diver who enjoys most water-related sports.