School of Business Hosts Forum on ESG Integration

A poster announcing a symposium on ESG at the UAlbany School of Business on Oct. 14.

By Michael Parker

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 11, 2022) — The University at Albany’s School of Business is hosting its second forum on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices in business.

The 2022 High Peaks Impact ESG Symposium will be held on Friday at the Massry Center for Business on the University at Albany’s Uptown Campus.

ESG is a concept that centers around analyzing how businesses integrate environmental, social and governance issues into their business models, with the goal of enhancing operational efficiencies, lowering costs, increasing competitiveness and generating higher revenues, improved returns and long-run profits.

ESG also seeks to improve sustainability in business through redefining what is important in decision-making: transparency, legitimacy, resilience and materiality.

The model came to prominence in 2004 when then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan invited more than 50 CEOs of major financial institutions to find ways to integrate ESG into capital markets under the auspices of the UN Global Compact. Following that initiative, “Who Cares Wins, 2004-2008” argued that embedding ESG factors in capital markets makes good business sense and results in better societal outcomes.

“We now witness that not only are businesses eager to embrace models that are sustainable in a broader sense beyond just profits, but even the next generation of workforce has started paying attention to these dimensions before deciding where to work,” said UAlbany School of Business Dean Nilanjan Sen.

This year’s forum will include a keynote discussion with George Serafeim, the Charles M. Williams Professor of Business at Harvard Business School and author of Purpose + Profit: How Businesses Can Lift Up the World. Serafeim is also the co-leader of the Impact-Weighted Accounts Project and the Climate and Sustainability Impact AI Lab at Harvard University.

Two panel discussions with business and political leaders will examine the changes in business practices, what small and medium businesses in the Capital Region can do to adopt, and the support that is available.

Additional noted speakers include:

  • Paul Tonko, congressman, U.S. House of Representatives, New York’s 20th Congressional District
  • Doreen Harris, president, NYSERDA
  • Kathy Sheehan, mayor, Albany
  • Ron Kim, mayor, Saratoga Springs
  • Gary R. McCarthy, mayor, Schenectady
  • Patrick Madden, mayor, Troy
  • Kevin Coffey, American Red Cross
  • Alyssa Mediate, Bank of America
  • Loretta Kuhland, Performance Mgt.
  • John Toy, GlobalFoundries
  • Roberto Friedlander, Plug Power

The is an annual event hosted by the School of Business, University at Albany. The symposium’s primary purpose is to generate a conversation within the region about responsible business practices for the future, spanning collective responsibility toward the environment, social responsibility and conscientious governance.

At the forum, the School of Business will also present the High Peaks Impact Award, in recognition of outstanding ESG practices in the Capital Region. The award recognizes an organization based in the New York State Capital Region that excels in environmental sustainability, social responsibility representing inclusivity and diversity, and transparent, accountable and responsible governance.