Recent events from the COVID-19 pandemic to the killing of George Floyd have sparked social justice movements around the world and have placed diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront in politics, classrooms, and corporations. Financial institutions too are taking part as keen investors increasingly turn their attention to the “Social” aspects of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors by recognizing their importance in generating long-term value for all stakeholders.

The Center on Global Energy Policy’s Women in Energy program (WIE) was pleased to host a discussion on what this focus on “Social” goals means for investment trends in the energy sector, a topic of a recent commentary from WIE. As more capital flows screen for ESG criteria in final decision making, what are the implications for the energy sector, which has long struggled to recruit and retain women and other underrepresented groups and promote them to senior ranks? Panelists considered how ESG is influencing decision-making across the full financial spectrum from venture capital to IPOs to publicly trading equity market trends. They also addressed best practices, policy recommendations, and what energy companies are doing to address investor pressure on social issues.


  • Maria Jelescu Dreyfus, CEO, Ardinall Investment Management and Co-Chair, WIE Steering Committee


  • Ruth Dreessen, Chairman of the Board, Gevo Inc; Operating Partner, Triten Energy Partners; and Board Member, DMC Global Inc.
  • Kara Helander, Managing Director and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Carlyle
  • Veery Maxwell, Partner, Ajax Investment Strategies and Director, Energy Innovation
  • Rita McGrath, Professor, Columbia Business School
  • Amy Jaffe, Research Professor and Managing Director of the Climate Policy Lab, The Fletcher School at Tufts University and Co-chair, Women in Energy Steering Committee