Championing Sustainability through Asset Management
Who: James Osborn ’02 ChE
What: Founder of Envest Asset Management, LLC (“EAM”), a financial planning, investment management and alternative investment service that considers the critical components of sustainability, social responsibility and governance in its decision making
Professional Experience: From environmental engineer to investment banker in social infrastructure to private equity investor in the clean energy space
On Sustainability & Investing: “I want to dispel the myths that social and sustainable investing is meant only for large institutions, or those that want to sacrifice economic return for social or environmental progress.”
He offers the following statistics for companies that utilize sustainability in their corporate practices:
- Companies that have a higher deployment of ESG strategies (Environmental, Social and Governance) show higher return potential and are valued at a premium when compared to their peers.
- Companies that have higher ESG ratings tended to show higher profitability and dividend yield.
- A majority of corporate executives believe that a sustainable strategy is required to remain competitive.
- Investors play a large part in corporate sustainability and stewardship. Investors have shown a willingness to take action if sustainability issues are not being effectively addressed by the company.
“It’s my job to identify investment opportunities that have higher sustainability measures and match that to my client’s needs. This is a highly individualized process, and as a fiduciary many considerations must be taken to determine an appropriate financial and investment strategy for a client.”
Villanova’s Influence: “Villanova’s rigorous athletics, its engineering curriculum, as well as the Augustinian values embedded in the DNA of the school prepared me for the work that eventually led to this venture. The Villanova attitude and education has been invaluable. My time as a Villanova athlete instilled in me drive, determination and hard work. The education and culture provided me a systematic approach to solving problems by combining high, analytical thinking along with the ability to transform lives through environmentalism, and community. Villanova is a thought leader in education and sustainability.”
The former track and field and cross-country competitor, whose family contributed a named locker to the new track and field locker room, says, “I wouldn’t be where I am at today if it wasn’t for Villanova. Because of this, I stay Villanova-active by helping with speaking arrangements, events and mentorship. It’s the least I can do for a program that has provided so much.”