Founder and President,
Responsible Finance 101
My Path to this topic...
I had an early career in the finance industry, selling financial analysts’ research to pension funds and investment managers. Although I loved it, after 15 years I felt that something was missing. I began to feel there was a lack of connection between the financial world I was living in and the real world. I started to wonder what I could do about some of the overwhelming global issues I saw, such as resource scarcity, climate change and unjust social conditions.
What I realized is that there have been many changes over the past 50 years that have affected corporate behavior. Companies are required to report on their activities much more frequently, which has led investors to focus on short-term gains. However, the global issues that are affecting more of us every day, require more of a long-term approach.
There is a disconnect from what we want as global citizens (long-term solutions), versus what we want as investors (short term profits). If we want companies to address these global issues, more focus needs to be put on the long-term. As public companies are very sensitive to what investors want (because they provide them with the capital they need for growth), I realized that the investor stakeholder is the key to having impact on these global issues.
I subsequently started Millani, an ESG advisory firm that focuses on the investor stakeholder. We now help institutional investors understand how they can take environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into consideration in their investment processes and we help those companies they invest in to develop and disclose appropriate data, so investors can make impactful decisions about how they allocate their capital.
Milla's Reading List
This TED talk I delivered is a good overview of my thinking around ESG and responsible investment.
The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA)
An excellent review in 2018 of the Canadian investor and corporate landscape.
Mozaffar Khan, George Serafeim and Aaron Yoon
This paper details how companies can generate higher returns through disclosing performance metrics on their material ESG issues.
University of Oxford and Arabesque Partners, March 2015
This meta study examines the business case for corporate sustainability. As an overview:
90% of studies showed that sound sustainability standards lowered the cost of capital of companies.
88% of the research shows that solid ESG practices resulted in better operational performance.
80% of the research showed that stock price performance of companies is positively influenced by good sustainability practices.
About the Author
Prior to founding Millani in 2008, Milla worked for more than 15 years in the institutional equity markets for major Canadian financial institutions such as RBC Dominion Securities and Scotia Capital. Throughout her career, she has worked very closely with senior management and investor relations teams of Canadian publicly listed companies, as well as financial analysts and investment managers of several Quebec pension and investment funds. Milla then moved to the field of ESG integration and corporate sustainability where she was also actively involved in the development of sustainability strategy, management, stakeholder engagement, and reporting for a variety of Canadian organizations in her role as Deloitte's Leader – Sustainability, for the Quebec Region.
Milla is a board member of the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) and Co-President of the steering committee of the Finance and Sustainability Initiative of Finance Montréal. Milla was part of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) Financial Sector review.
Milla was recently honored as a top performer in the consulting category by receiving Canada’s 2017 Clean16 Award, and in October 2016 she delivered a compelling TEDx MontrealWomen talk on ESG Integration.