Top 10 Sustainability Champions 2022

Date: 26 Oct 2022

Silvia Ricciardi

Sustainability is one of the top priorities for individuals and companies nowadays and this gives even more resonance to the decision taken by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to propose a package of new measures including investment product sustainability labels and restrictions on how terms like ‘ESG’, ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ can be adopted in order to protect consumers and improve trust in sustainable investment products.

In this regard, the Citywealth team has been conducting an ESG survey and extensive research, taking into consideration also recommendations from clients and peers in the private wealth industry, to curate a list of global sustainability champions who have demonstrated concrete interest in making a positive impact on ESG and have been active in relation to the correct implementation of ESG values. After careful analysis, Citywealth is pleased to publish its Top 10 Sustainability Champions 2022.

All individuals and firms can post/share the good news, up to 50 words taken from the piece and a link to this top-rated list on their platforms, but for further marketing use there is a logo available which is subject to a marketing licence fee. You can view and pay the marketing fee here: Top 10 Sustainability Champions 2022 – Marketing Licence.

In alphabetical order (by surname):

Amy Blackwell, Partner, Acorn Capital Advisers  – Impact Adviser

(based in the UK)

Amy Blackwell, Acorn Capital Advisers

Amy is Acorn Capital Advisers Philanthropy, Impact Strategy and multi-generational wealth expert. She works with families to design philanthropic strategies and incorporate impact investing in their portfolios. She specialises in helping families work across generations to define the purpose of their wealth and align that to their values. She worked for a number of years with Merrill Lynch Private Executive Services and has been engaged with impact and purpose strategies since the early 1990s.

“I believe that in the next five years we will not be discussing ESG as we do today. We will have recognised that the elements of sound operational risk management within sustainable and profitable companies will include a commitment to approaching environmental, social and governance with purpose. The ESG will be another part of the due diligence that investors and investment managers will deploy when choosing companies in which to invest. I hope that the shift will be toward impact driven companies and the role they can play in the transition to a green economy which appears to present the biggest opportunity since the industrial revolution to introduce innovation to the markets.” Amy Blackwell

Kate Capocci, Associate Director, Responsible Investment, Evelyn Partners – Investment Manager

(based in the UK)

Kate Capocci, Evelyn Partners

Kate works on a large private client team managing bespoke portfolios for private clients, SIPPs, trusts and charities. She was a co-founder of the S&W Stewardship & Responsible Investment Group and is the lead specialist for sustainability and responsible investments. She has a key role in the integration of ESG factors into the group investment process and the client sustainability offering.

“The future of ESG is one of constant evolution.  Even over my relatively short career (7 years) the industry’s approach to and expectations of responsible investment have grown massively. It has progressed from a niche approach adopted by ethical and sustainable funds to standard practice across investment management. I think the industry is currently trying to grapple with some of the most tricky issues when approaching responsible investing. The turmoil of 2022 has thrown into question some of our previous conclusions on sustainable investing. Nuclear energy and gas have been added to the EU taxonomy as more sustainable energy sources (at least for the short to medium term) and the Russian invasion into Ukraine has ignited debates of the role of defence and armaments for global stability and peace. Where we fall on these issues will continue to evolve as we grapple with how best to influence positive change with investments.” Kate Capocci

Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta, ESG Regional Expert, Board Member, Apex Financial Group – Impact Adviser

(based in the United Arab Emirates)

Bhaskar Dasgupta, Apex Financial Group

Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta is a Senior Board Member, Business Executive and ESG Regional Expert with proven regulatory engagement, strategic business development, business transformation experience deploying advanced analytical and pragmatic delivery skills in various regulated and unregulated sectors – banking, markets, crypto, asset management, technology.

“The future of ESG in the MEASA region is going to build on a very long tradition of ethical investing in the region where Islamic Finance and Investment evidence is all around us. Investments in ethical business, recycling in education, medical services, public services by families and individuals are centuries old. ESG will get a further boost by the hosting of COP27 and COP28 in Egypt and UAE this and next year. Governments, civil society, regulators, family offices, financial firms and corporates are all starting to be very aware of ESG and net-zero initiatives and are starting to change their business models and increasing investments to reflect this supercharged ambition.” Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta

Victoria Gillespie, Director, Fund and Corporate Services, JTC – Impact Adviser

(based in the UK)

Victoria Gillespie, JTC

Victoria is responsible for JTC’s ESG Services. She joined JTC following the acquisition of INDOS Financial. She is a Certified Chartered Accountant with 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Previously Victoria was Head of Depositary and Post-Trade Compliance services for SS&C Technologies where she worked for six years. 

“Trying to summarise the future of ESG is a vast task itself, given its subjective interpretation by stakeholders and agnostic application of services, support and products. One thing is certain: change. This may manifest in a number of ways. With COP27 due to take place imminently, we may see further collaboration between member states to deliver promises made at previous COPs. Leaders will look to businesses to help deliver solutions to the market, so we may see a flurry of sophisticated products and services vying for investment towards much needed products that truly tackle the Climate Emergency and immediate Social issues.

Clarity may come via the International Sustainability Standards (ISSB), designed to set base line sustainability standards for consideration, implementation and reporting. Regulatory scrutiny may increase, along with increased calls for assurance designed to maintain investor confidence. We may see demand for increased transparency, simplified reporting, calls for definitions and common language driven by investors exerting moral pressure to drive change.” Victoria Gillespie

James Hibbs, Head of Diversified International, Melville Douglas, subsidiary of Standard Bank Group – Investment Manager

(based in Jersey)

James Hibbs, Melville Douglas

James joined Standard Bank in 2010 and has over 20 years’ experience in wealth and investment management, including seven years at Coutts. As Head of Melville Douglas Diversified, James champions their Responsible Portfolios, a fully discretionary portfolio offering populated with sustainable and impact managers, that he helped launch five years ago. He is a Chartered Wealth Manager, Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, and holds the Green and Sustainable Finance Certificate.

“The investment case for Responsible investing is undeniable – there is a significant structural tailwind to investing sustainably – and we, and our managers, see investing in this space as a competitive advantage. We believe you can invest with the aim of having a positive impact on society and the environment, minimising harm, whilst, importantly, also generating competitive long-term returns for our clients and without taking undue risk.” James Hibbs

Kate Hodson, Partner, Head of ESG, Ogier – Lawyer

(based in Hong Kong) 

Kate Hodson, Ogier

Kate is a partner in Ogier’s investment funds practice in Hong Kong and Head of ESG (Legal) for the firm.  As a seasoned funds lawyer, Kate has developed her ESG expertise in the asset management sector as well as supporting Ogier in developing its own approach to environmental sustainability as a member of the firm’s environmental steering group.  She has a Masters in Energy and Environmental Law from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and subsequently founded Ogier’s Sustainable Investing and Impact Funds practice. She was also instrumental in the launch of Ogier Global’s Sustainable Investing Consulting business. Outside of the office, Kate is committed to conservation efforts and volunteers with the World Wide Fund for Nature, Hong Kong, sitting on its executive committee as well as its finance committee.

“The ‘E, S and G’ of ESG are becoming increasingly better understood and defined and this will help whittle out those truly committed to these areas and those that are paying lip service, but we have a long way to go on that front. The future has to see more tangible action being taken. Admittedly the journey is not going to be an easy one and we are experiencing this first hand. Fortunately, the development of more streamlined global initiatives (helping to address the fragmentation in the market), appropriate frameworks (taking into account local nuances) as well as the drive for tech solutions, will help those trying to achieve their aims. The cost of taking such steps will become more tolerable as the cost of non-compliance or even non-participation, will loom far greater.” Kate Hodson

Katerina Kosmopoulou, Partner, J. Stern & Co. – Analyst

(based in the UK)

Katerina Kosmopoulou, J. Stern & Co.

Katerina is a Partner and senior investment analyst. She is also deputy portfolio manager for the Firm’s World Stars investment strategy. 

“We believe that ESG has a significant role to play within the asset management industry, as regulators, clients and industry participants increasingly focus on environmental and social outcomes alongside financial returns. Importantly, as ESG becomes more embedded in the investment industry, we expect to see higher standardisation of related metrics and disclosures, as well as tighter regulatory oversight, adding to the transparency and credibility of product offerings. The recent creation of ISSB under the IFRS governance umbrella with the aim of developing globally recognised corporate ESG disclosure standards is a good example of this process. Ultimately, as ESG further matures, we believe it will become a core facet of investment analysis, enabling the asset management industry to fulfil its role as allocator of capital more effectively.” Katerina Kosmopoulou

Mbali Makhathini, Head of ESG, Melville Douglas, subsidiary of Standard Bank Group – Investment Manager

(based in South Africa)

Mbali Makhathini, Melville Douglas

Mbali is Head of ESG and Investment Manager at Melville Douglas, who takes care of Melville Douglas’s position on sustainable finance. She has recently got a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Business and Leadership at Cambridge University.

“Investors around the world have come to realise that ESG is one of the fundamental levers of change we have at our disposal to ensure our investments work towards reaching a sustainable and equitable future for all. This dynamic and rapidly evolving space continues to expand its domain as ESG assets continue to show strong growth dismantling historic misconceptions that Sustainability and ESG integration comes at the expense of financial returns. Nothing in business is certain however, it is not difficult to imagine a future where ESG investing is not viewed as an additional lens on investing or as an ‘alternative’ but simply business as usual.” Mbali Makhathini

James Maloney, Partner, Farrer & Co – Lawyer

(based in the UK)

James Maloney, Farrer & Co

James advises a broad spectrum of charities, and those who fund, work with and regulate them, on the full range of charity law issues. He has a particular focus on advising philanthropists on the legal aspects of structuring their giving and sits on the STEP Philanthropy Advisors Global SIG Steering Committee.

James is a charity law specialist, helping clients with constitutional and governance matters, incorporations, mergers and restructuring projects. James has the knowledge and experience to ensure charities navigate the law on fundraising (including trading and commercial partnerships), investment, grant-making and charity property transactions. Philanthropy has become a key area of focus for James. He advises individuals and families, including through the formation of charities and alternatives. He advises on donor tax reliefs and on regulatory requirements. Recent work includes advice on complex cross-border issues.

Petra Posnikova, Investment Director and Head of ESG, VAR Capital – Investment Manager

(based in the UK)

Petra Posnikova, VAR Capital

Petra is responsible for investment analysis, equity research and portfolio construction for VAR Capital. She was earlier responsible for London & Capital’s UK Equity fund, as well as performing equity analysis of selected global companies.

“Issues in the ESG world have been a growing concern, escalating with greenwashing scandals. Misleading information and false claims not only lead to social and environmental damage, but severely hinder a company or fund’s reputation, and also public trust. As we see more investors demand clarity on the nature of their investments, fund methodologies and credentials, thankfully, we are also seeing an increasing number of regulators cracking down on misleading practices, leading to the better protection of individuals and investors. 

I hope to see this trend continue so that we might see a more harmonised and consistent approach to ESG investing which roots out green-washers and rewards genuine positive change makers.” Petra Posnikova

All individuals and firms can post/share the good news, up to 50 words taken from the piece and a link to this top-rated list on their platforms, but for further marketing use there is a logo available which is subject to a marketing licence fee. You can view and pay the marketing fee here: Top 10 Sustainability Champions 2022 – Marketing Licence.

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