John L. Cusack, Vice President, Finance and Sustainability – Mr. Cusack is a globally recognized sustainable business and finance executive with an extensive record of success in integrating sustainability into operations, technology and risk management. Mr. Cusack has advised insurance and risk management firms, multinational businesses, ESG (Environmental Social Governance) rating/research agencies, asset managers, institutional investors, clean-technology startups and private equity/venture firms. Over his distinguished career, he has shaped a distinctive, focused approach to sustainable business practices.
John recently finished a year’s assignment as Head of Financial Services Risk Management for Maplecroft Ltd. in the U.K., an extra-financial/ESG (Environmental Social Governance) country-risk research firm. At Maplecroft, he helped large financial institutions manage risk and identify ESG opportunities that would impact business strategy and bottom-line growth.
A pioneer in the financial aspects of sustainability, in 1993 John founded Gifford Park Associates (GPA), a sustainability management advisory firm. Through GPA, he created several sustainability business initiatives, including Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, an early sustainability rating metrics and investment research firm. Innovest is now part of MSCI ESG Research. Based on his proven ability to develop, value, finance and rapidly grow businesses, Mr. Cusack has served as sustainability catalyst and investment advisor to such clients as Barclays, Norges Bank Investment Management, OPTrust, UBS, Credit Suisse, Access Industries, Deutsche Telekom, Asea Brown Boveri, Vattenfall, Iberdrola, Toyota, Israel Chemicals Ltd., Parhelion Capital, the Long Island Venture Fund, ConAgra, Johnson & Johnson and the United Arab Emirates.
As part of GPA, Mr. Cusack became Chief Sustainability Officer of Light Green Advisors (LGA), advising on portfolio construction, risk and strategy for LGA’s large-cap equities sustainability investment mandate for the CalSTRS pension fund. This strategy outperformed the S&P 500 Index by over 10% for more than a decade.
Between 2001 and 2003, Mr. Cusack was Senior Vice President and head of the New York office of the Marsh Environmental Risk Management Consulting practice. He worked with Marsh’s sister firms, Marsh, Mercer and Putnam Investments, advising on sustainability, environmental reporting, liability disclosure and insurance, and climate risk/opportunity management, mitigation and investment. He advised Putnam Investments’ analysts on the investment implications of climate change, ESG and renewable energy technology risk/opportunity issues.
Prior to founding GPA, Mr. Cusack was the founding CEO and lead executive of several cleantech subsidiaries in Europe and North America for Asea Brown Boveri (ABB). He advised ABB’s $70+ million energy and environmental technology venture capital fund and ABB Corporate Environmental Affairs on sustainability issues, including selling coal-related power equipment business to minimize future carbon liabilities. He also worked closely with the board and senior executives of Combustion Engineering Inc. on clean energy and environmental technology commercialization and research before that firm was purchased by ABB.
Mr. Cusack has served on numerous financial and regulatory boards, guiding sustainability policy development and program implementation on local, national and international levels. He has worked with the U.S. EPA, The Conference Board, the UNEP-Finance Initiative, the Financial Incentives Working Group of the National Environmental Policy Institute and the Connecticut Climate Change Education Committee. He is an international speaker on integrating sustainability into finance and business, as well as an adjunct sustainable finance professor and guest lecturer.
Mr. Cusack is a dual EU (Irish) and U.S. citizen. He holds a BCE in Civil Engineering and an MCE in Environmental Engineering & Science from Manhattan College, and an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University.