We look forward to announcing the expert speakers coming to the 2023 Sustainable Investment Forum Europe. Take a look at 2022’s speakers.
European Investment Bank
Elina started her banking career in the Nordea Group in risk management and later on in international banking. She joined the Financial Institutions team of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London in 2001 and built a track record in business origination, structuring and execution of financing transactions ranging from senior debt to equity in various countries of EBRD’s operation. Elina moved to Luxembourg and to European Investment Bank (EIB) in 2006 and has since held several positions in the EIB. Before taking up her role as a head of the newly created Climate Office in the Bank’s operations directorate in the beginning of 2020, she lead EIB’s corporate lending team covering eleven markets in central and norther Europe. During her career, Elina has contributed to a number of green financing initiatives involving both public and private sector promoters and including financing of green innovation.
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Ms Elizabeth Press is Director of Planning and Programme Support in the Executive Office of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). She leads the Agency’s programme and strategy development and related activities in IRENA governing bodies. Ms Press represents IRENA in climate-focused organisations and initiatives and leads several special projects, including geopolitics of energy transitions. She also oversees diversification of the Agency’s resource base and is IRENA’s focal point in Europe.
Ms Press has served with IRENA since its inception in 2011. Before joining the Agency, she worked for some 18 years in development and peace and security, predominately with the United Nations. Ms Press served in Africa, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South-East Asia. She has an MA in Public Administration.
Eric Usher currently heads the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, UNEP FI, a global partnership bringing together the UN with 230 banks, insurers and asset managers working to develop the sustainable finance and responsible investment agendas. Eric oversees governance, strategy and day-to-day management of UNEP FI’s work programme and global network development. Over the years UNEP FI has established some of the most important sustainability oriented frameworks within the finance industry, including the Principles for Responsible Investment (2006), the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (2012) and work now underway on the establishment of Principles for Responsible Banking. Since joining in 2015, Mr. Usher has focused on accelerating the deep integration of sustainability risks into financial practice, including addressing climate change, natural capital loss and human rights abuses, as well as building out the frameworks for positive impact finance needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Eric sits on several industry bodies including as UN representative on the Board of the Principles for Responsible Investment, as a member of the Evaluation Council of the French sovereign green bond, as Director for the impact fund REPP Africa and founder of the Seed Capital Assistance Facility.
Prior to leading UNEP FI, Mr. Usher has over twenty years of experience in the low carbon sectors, spanning technology commercialisation in Canada, solar rural electrification in Morocco and financial sector development across emerging markets. During 2011, Mr. Usher worked on the establishment of the Green Climate Fund and led efforts to create its Private Sector Facility. Eric has been an editor of the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report published annually with Bloomberg and was lead author for finance of the IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources. Before joining the UN, Eric was General Manager of a solar rural electrification company based in Morocco.
Francis Malige is the Managing Director, Head of Financial Institutions for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Since he took up his role in 2018, Mr. Malige has been leading investments with banks, insurance companies, non-bank financial institutions and capital market infrastructure firms across thirty-six economies over three continents. Notably he has led the EBRD’s response via the financial sector to the COVID crisis and the war on Ukraine.
He joined the EBRD in 2010 as a Director of Financial Institutions, covering the Eastern Europe, Western Balkans, Turkey and Southern & Eastern Mediterranean regions.
From 2014-2018 he served as the Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, a region that encompasses Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – pioneering policy initiatives across these countries. In Ukraine, he led the EBRD through the difficult post-revolution period, to develop a number of initiatives blending investment and policy impact, including stateowned enterprise reform, the banking sector transformation and the Ukraine Reforms Architecture. At the request of Ukraine’s President, he served as a Board member for Privatbank after its nationalisation.
Before joining the EBRD, he was Managing Director for Corporate Development at BNP Paribas, focusing on bank acquisitions. His earlier career was in accounting and consulting at Arthur Andersen and McKinsey & Company, where he served clients in industry, high tech and construction, as well as financial services.
Mr. Malige frequently contributes on issues of finance and emerging markets in leading European publications.
Mr. Malige is a graduate of ESCP Europe, a French business school. In addition to his native French, he is fluent in German, Italian and English.
Gerrit Dubois has been a responsible investment specialist at DPAM since 2018. He previously worked as a consultant in the environmental resource management sector. Gerrit holds a Master’s degree in Environment, Health and Safety from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and a degree in Business Administration and Management from Corvinus University in Budapest.
Green Digital Finance Alliance | Every Action Counts Coalition
As Project Director at Green Digital Finance Alliance (GDFA), Gerrit leads the organisation’s work on the 2021 founded Every Action Counts (EAC) Coalition. EAC is a network of 14 large platforms with combined access to 2.7 billion customers, joined around the pledge to empower 1 billion people globally to shift towards more carbon-efficient and nature-positive lifestyles by 2025. Earlier, Gerrit has been leading the Swiss business of F10, a global incubator & accelerator network for the financial services industry. In this capacity, he initiated a climate fintech focused program, co-authored the Green Fintech Action Plan for the Swiss finance ministry and served as a board member at F10’s investment arm. Prior a banker for 10 years, mostly with ABN AMRO Bank, he became an entrepreneur in 2010, and co-founded, led and worked with – mostly FinTech – start-ups over the past 12 years, and led mobile payment projects at Swisscom. Gerrit holds an MBA from IMD International in Lausanne, and a BBA from Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.
Green Digital Finance Alliance
As Deputy Executive Director at the Green Digital Finance Alliance (GDFA), Gerrit especially leads Every Action Counts (EAC) Coalition, founded in 2021 as a global network of leading digital finance and commerce players, with combined access to 3 billion customers, and convened to empower 1 billion people for green action. Other work at GDFA covered the climate impact of food consumption and its change potential, as well as energy-efficiency mortgages. Earlier, Gerrit led the Swiss business of F10 (now: Tenity), a global incubator & accelerator network for the financial services industry. There, he initiated a climate fintech-focused program, served as a board member at F10’s investment arm, and co-authored the Green Fintech Action Plan for the Swiss finance ministry. Prior a banker for 10 years, mostly with ABN AMRO Bank, he became an entrepreneur in 2010, co-founded, led, and worked with – mostly FinTech – start-ups over 12 years, and led mobile payment projects at a large telecommunications provider. Gerrit holds an MBA from IMD International in Lausanne and a BBA from Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.
Günther Thallinger joined Allianz Group in May 2009.
He has been a Member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE since 2017, responsible for Investment Management and the Center of Competence Life & Health.
In 2018 he additionally assumed responsibility for steering ESG topics within Allianz. He is the chairman of the United Nations-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (AOA).
Until his appointment to the Board of Management, Günther Thallinger acted as CEO, and before that as CFO, of Allianz Investment Management SE and was Chairman of the Allianz Investment Management Board.
Before joining Allianz, he was principal at McKinsey&Company. Born in Austria, Günther Thallinger graduated with a BSc from the Technical University Graz and a MSc from the Technical University Vienna in technical mathematics. He holds a PhD in applied mathematics from the Technical University Vienna.
- Gwenola Chambon, is CEO and Managing Partner of Vauban Infrastructure Partners. She has built and developed this equity infrastructure activity through the past 12 years. She developed the team, lead the various vintages of fundraising, designing the funds’ strategies and capital deployment. She has successfully turned this activity into a multibillion third party asset manager with a strong international client base.
- Throughout her 28-year career, Gwenola has developed an extensive knowledge of the European infrastructure sector and has years of experience financing and investing in infrastructure assets. She has worked on a number of landmark transactions, from the first PPP projects in continental Europe (in Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, France) to the development of strategic acquisitions in the European core infrastructure space (notably in digital infrastructure in France, Spanish PPPs, smart meters, etc.). Prior to developing the equity infrastructure activities of Natixis IM in 2010 she spent two years within the infrastructure fund Galaxy. Before that Gwenola was Head of European infrastructure at CIFG, and prior to that she was a senior member of the project finance team at BNP Paribas.
- In addition to her responsibilities as director on the boards of various European infrastructure companies (Proxiserve, Axione, Comsa Concessiones, Alis, etc.) Gwenola is a member of a number of industry groups including the European Commission working group of Experts in Infrastructure, the PRI expert group, the GRESB working group, EFAMA, and the AFG and AFIC working groups for infrastructure. She is also an active member of the Institut de la Gestion Déléguée in France. Gwenola is an active member of IFA (Institut Français des Administrateurs) and is responsible for project finance courses in ESSEC’s Masters of Complex Financing.
- Gwenola was appointed at the advisory board of the PRI in early January 2022.
- In late 2022, Gwenola was chosen by the independent panel of judges to win the IJInvestor Awards 2022 trophy for Outstanding Individual.
- Gwenola is fluent in 3 languages (English, Spanish and French) and holds a Master in Business from ESCP.
Global Reporting Initiative
Harold is Director of Standards at GRI, the global leader for Sustainability Reporting with over 11,000 reporting organizations.
Harold leads the fast-growing GRI team developing new and revising existing GRI Standards. He is responsible for the global multi-stakeholder-based process creating a reporting landscape providing a common reporting language, more transparency and information (qualitative and quantitative) about organization’s impacts on the economy, environment, and people including human rights.
Prior to GRI, Harold worked in the intersection of energy, climate, health, safety and environment in global standards and certification development projects, founded several public-private reporting and certification initiatives. Harold led and created new teams and standardization divisions, and holds an MSc in Chemical Engineering, studied Business Administration.
2° Investing Initiative
Hélène Lanier has 15+ years of experience in the financial sector, combining early career stages as a consultant and then employed by the French central bank. She is currently CEO of 2 degrees investing initiative , a Paris-based independent non-profit think tank working to align financial flows with the Paris agreement. She is engaged in developing research work on just transition and impact finance. 2DII developed extensive knowledge of climate strategies from financial institutions and public institutions in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
Hilkka joined Aegon in 2021 to head up the responsible investment team in the UK and to drive forward Aegon’s responsible investment practices for the workplace and retail investment business.
Hilkka has extensive experience in responsible investment, sustainability and policy issues, having worked at Principles for Responsible Investment, EY, the OECD, the United Nations, and most recently overseeing the integration of ESG into the investment strategy at IH International Advisors, part of the investment group Interogo Holding AG.
Hilkka is a Finnish national based in London, and holds an MA Honours (First Class) in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh and a Masters in International Affairs from Sciences Po Paris.