President, Boston Common Asset Management
Geeta Aiyer, president of Boston Common Asset Management, has been an influential force in the sustainable, responsible and impact investing industry for almost 30 years.
Among her major contributions are:
• Developing the primary data and metrics for this type of investing.
• Bringing SRI, along with environmental, social and governance criteria, into the global arena — investing in both developed and emerging markets.
• Actively managing portfolios with a long-term horizon and being an engaged owner-investor.
• Managing risk and reward to institutional standards.
The SRI space has grown rapidly since the Great Recession, Ms. Aiyer said, as investors rethink their approaches, the notion of climate change becomes more accepted, and women and millennials seek more active engagement as investors.
What’s behind her global focus?
“The world is a lot bigger than the U.S., and a significant proportion of the world’s growth is in other countries,” Ms. Aiyer, 58, said. “The movement toward global outsourcing makes it now matter more. And for active managers, it adds a lot more opportunity to add value to stock selection overseas, especially with an ESG filter.”
Because she was born and raised in India, Ms. Aiyer’s investment philosophy reflects not only an international outlook, but a heightened sensitivity to cultural and ecological diversity.
“ESG is very starkly highlighted [in India], for example in the effects of climate change or lack of water,” she said. “With the extreme poverty, it shows you how little people can make do with.”
– Deborah Nason