Columbia SIRI and SIMFO partner to catalyze systems-level investing initiative

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Across the space of economics and finance, researchers and practitioners have begun to coalesce around the notion of regeneration, practices that restore and sustain stocks of social and natural capital.

Their emerging intention: not only to advance the existing work of responsible, sustainable, and impact investing but also to seed the recognition that nearly all wealth creation is dependent on these dwindling stocks and the resources they provide to society and the economy. In his 2021 book, 21st Century Investing, responsible investing pioneer Steve Lydenberg coined this shift in attention, systems-level investing.

Launched in 2022 under the leadership of Dr. Caroline Flammer, the Sustainable Investing Research Initiative (SIRI) at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), has taken up the mantle of advancing teaching, research, and dialogue in systems-level investing. Within the coming year, SIPA seeks to launch and publish a research agenda as part of a Special Issue on Systems-Level Investing in a top-tier economics or finance peer-reviewed journal.

The Systems Impact Multi-Family Office (SIMFO) was established to develop the field of systems impact investing. The firm works with wealth-holding families to develop systems change initiatives, resourcing them with blended systems funds, co-created and managed by a diverse group of stakeholders collaborating both among and across the changemaker–resource-provider divide.

Embedding regeneration of society and planet into mainstream investment practice requires the development of an identifiable field of research and action. To accelerate this process, SIPA and SIMFO are proposing work to catalyze a systems-level investing systems change initiative that will design, source, and resource interventions that act upon likely leverage points.

About the Sustainable Investing Research Initiative at Columbia SIPA

Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) has created the Sustainable Investing Research Initiative (SIRI). Its mission is to foster cross-disciplinary scholarship, education, and dialogue on the interplay and interdependencies between investment and the most complex challenges facing our world.

Drawing on faculty expertise from SIPA and across the University (including the Climate School, Columbia Business School, Columbia Law School, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences), the initiative’s focus is the nexus between corporations, investors, policy, and system-level challenges.

Its activities will focus on the following five pillars: 1) the development of better measures to track progress toward the mitigation of system-level challenges; 2) the fostering of academic scholarship; 3) improving dialogue by convening and hosting leaders from academia, policy, the public and private sector; 4) the development of new courses and other educational activities to educate the next generation of leaders in policy and business; and 5) executive education to inform and train investment and management professionals, including leaders from policy, business, and NGOs. These pillars aim to complement, inform, and mutually reinforce each other.

Get involved

SIMFO and SIRI are actively seeking support and partnership to advance this initiative. To learn more, please contact us.

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