A Conversation with Jamie Jones Ezefili
Northampton, MA –News Direct–Northern Trust
Climate change is a present and future risk that we cannot control without first tackling inequalities within society. Lori Llewellyn, Acting Managing Director, CDP North America, spoke with Jamie Jones EzefiliVice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Northern Trust, to discuss the responsibilities of business and government in taking a 360 degree approach to tackling climate change and how we can have a more intergenerational reach on climate change. environmental action.
How did you get into this field? When you went to school, did you have sustainability in mind?
When I think back to my time as a young adult, I had no idea working in sustainability was an option. I started at Northern Trust in the middle of the market crisis in 2008. I remember being in a meeting and the CEO mentioned that if you don’t go home at the end of the day feeling good about this you were doing, you probably need to take the time to reevaluate your career and determine if this is the right path for you. It got me started thinking about my own goals and values, what I’m passionate about, and how I could get there. Working in CSR for a financial services institution coming out of the market crisis made me want to prove that financial services have a lot to offer in terms of ESG and can advancing much-needed changes in society.
What does sustainability mean to you?
It’s about leaving this place better than I found it. From people to planet to economy. I want to know that after me, future generations will not only be able to live but to prosper. It’s also about breaking down barriers and creating trends that standardize inclusiveness and representation in the fields of CSR and financial services, but also companies in general.
The climate crisis has had inequitable effects on marginalized groups and people of color. What are the responsibilities of companies and financial institutions to create a fairer future?
We need to look at our impact holistically. Financial institutions need to ensure that when we make investments and strategically try to impact society, we take a 360 degree approach – looking at all perspectives and ensuring that marginalized groups are represented when important discussions are taking place. .
If we say that companies must reduce their emissions or stop unsustainable practices, we must also consider who will be most affected if there is jobs lost due to these changes. It’s about helping the community and the environment now in a responsible way, while preventing future harm.
At CDP, transparency is an essential part of what we do. Since Northern Trust scored an A- for its CDP climate change disclosure in 2021, your business also clearly values transparency. Why do you think transparency about environmental and social impact is important in the financial services industry?
Transparency allows us to own the conversation around us and our sustainability efforts. If we don’t tell people about the good things we do – like invest US$3.1 billion in affordable housing in our community – then they won’t know. Waiting for someone else to tell our story won’t always work in our favor.
We must also consider what interests our investors given the nature of our business. If they’re not sure what we’re doing to mitigate climate change risk, that could create a problem.
Finally, disclosure allows us to see where we can improve. This allows us to remain competitive with those in our industry who have similar trajectories. By looking at the scores competitors are getting and what they are doing to earn those scores, we can strive to be better and lead in this space.
As we seek to make a just transition to a more sustainable future, how does representation factor into this goal?
I think the ESG and sustainability space has opened up a lot over the past two years. I received more invitations for panels and interviews, making it clear that there is an awareness that a variety of experiences and voices are needed to fight climate change. Representation is important and I feel responsible for getting involved. Hopefully, the more we seize these opportunities to speak, the more of us will get involved or learn that it’s even possible to do so.
As we look forward to the next decade of climate action and ambition, what gives you the most hope?
This new generation makes me hopeful and excited. The younger generation really believe they can do it, and so do I. They ask difficult but necessary questions to advance sustainability and reflect on the intersectionality of climate, finance, and racial equity. They are passionate and won’t take no for an answer, and I believe they will be able to build the breakthrough technologies and systems needed to get us where we need to be.
See the source version on newsdirect.com: https://newsdirect.com/news/how-the-finance-sector-can-boost-sustainability-and-inclusivity-all-at-once-a-conversation-with-jamie-jones-ezefili-609125860