All-Alumni Faculty Will Facilitate Seven-Week Course
Submitted by Erb Institute
(MARKET WIRE) - Although global markets continue to reel from the failure of complex financing instruments gone awry, the use of innovative financial strategies to create social and environmental benefits is gathering steam. Recognizing the importance of this emerging trend, The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan is pioneering a unique, seven-week course titled "Sustainable Finance: Impact Investing."
Numerous Erb Institute alumni already are at the forefront of sustainable finance, including leading roles at investment firms Equilibrium Capital Group, Forest Carbon Offsets, Minlam Asset Management, US Renewables Group and ZBI Ventures. Five of these alumni are coming together to teach "Sustainable Finance: Impact Investment."
Drawing on these practitioners' real-world experiences, the course reflects a growing trend for institutional investors to choose new forms of "impact" investment designed to generate both market rate returns and positive social and environmental impact. Formerly the domain of activist investors, sustainable finance is increasingly being adopted by mainstream, global financial players.
Students in the course will tackle some of the social and environmental dimensions of market rate investing. For example: can an investment strategy focused on generating superior financial return also create positive change in the environment and society? How do investors evaluate, value and structure deals for renewable energy projects, clean tech venture capital, energy efficiency projects, etc.? What additional development needs to take place in for sustainable finance instruments to be adopted more widely?
As part of the requirements for the class, students will collaborate in group projects where they create a financial vehicle (e.g. private equity fund, debt instrument, etc.) that could fit within institutional investors' portfolios while delivering social / environmental impact.
"I have seen first-hand how sustainability-related investment opportunities have grown significantly over the last several years," notes Mike Hokenson, a 2005 Erb Institute graduate and instructor on commercial microfinance investing. "It is an honor to be a member of the professional team helping Michigan students gain insights into this dynamic market, and look forward to the insights and innovations we believe this course will help foster within The Erb Institute."
The Erb Institute's Sustainable Finance was created in response to student demand, and those enrollees span a spectrum of University of Michigan schools including the College of Engineering, Ford School of Public Policy, School of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Ross School of Business. The instructors, all of whom are Erb Institute alumni, are innovators from across the sustainable finance spectrum, including:
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