Stanford’s New Sustainable Finance Initiative To Help Unleash Capital Needed For Decarbonization


Publish Date:
October 4, 2018
Stanford News
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The global transition to low-carbon economies is dramatically transforming the investment landscape, especially in the enormous sectors of energy, agriculture and transportation. To unlock the massive amount of capital needed for that transition, Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy is launching a research program to develop new economic and financial models to more effectively manage risk and drive successful investment.

The Sustainable Finance Initiative at Stanford will work with leading public and private financial institutions, companies and governments to engage Stanford researchers in economics, law, business and computer science to accelerate the transition toward decarbonization and climate resilience. Bank of America, a founding member of Stanford’s Strategic Energy Alliance, is supporting this initiative.

“Significant barriers block capital deployment at anywhere near the level needed, especially investments from economically developed countries in economically developing economies,” said Thomas Heller, faculty director of the Sustainable Finance Initiative and professor emeritus at Stanford Law School.

“The fight for a sustainable Earth will be won largely in developing economies, which are now massively investing in infrastructure designed to operate profitably for decades,” said Heller, an expert in climate policies and laws as well as in economic development.

Stanford has led in advancing knowledge on climate science and low-carbon technologies, but the university can contribute much more on financing sustainable infrastructure, said Alicia Seiger, managing director of the Sustainable Finance Initiative.

“By reframing climate in terms of development, growth, productivity and risk, we aim to bring a third dimension to Stanford’s leadership,” Seiger said. “This new frame will allow us to engage faculty members across the social sciences, including some who don’t necessarily think of themselves as sustainability experts.”

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