Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance (YISF)


Through applied research and multidimensional collaboration, YISF seeks to answer some of the most challenging questions facing investors interested in sustainability

About the Initiative

Numerous entrenched barriers hinder the flow of investment capital needed for sustainable development—from climate change infrastructure to the new energy economy to the conservation of natural areas. 

Yet there is a growing recognition among financial institutions and businesses that investments that take environmental factors into account are essential not just for protecting the ecosystem but also for delivering superior, long-term financial returns in many cases, as well as contributing to financial stability.

This initiative is dedicated to furthering research on collaborative approaches to innovation in sustainable finance. 

The Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance (YISF) has been organized to overcome these barriers based on two principles:

  • Focus should be placed on the barriers to movement of capital rather than the direction of capital flow;
  • The most effective market solutions will arise from facilitated collaboration and applied research.

Our Approach

YISF is organized as a platform for research collaboration focused on iterative approaches to innovation. Positioned as an independent academic initiative, YISF is structured to benefit from extensive collaboration with market participants, leading scholars, and non-profit organizations working in the sustainable finance arena. 

Knowledge Platform: A knowledge platform facilitates the transaction of ideas in the interest of more efficient and effective solutions.  In this role, YISF will work to identify and engage collaborators from across industry as well as leading scholars from academia and engaged policy makers. The platform itself will consist of a range of activities from on-line forums and email exchanges to in-person roundtables and workshops.  Our intent is to create a space and then tailor objectives to maximize productivity in those conversations.

Applied research: One of the key outputs of the knowledge platform will be identified needs for applied research.  The YISF will sponsor applied research with the expectation that results will be shared on the knowledge platform for all collaborators to consider.

YISF will focus on three initial sustainable finance issues: 

  • Impediments to the movement of mainstream capital into sustainability-related projects
  • Needs of sustainability-minded investors
  • Standards in the burgeoning Green Bonds market

Donors and Partners

YISF is funded in large part by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with the support of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).  The Moore Foundation is proud to support YISF as part of its effort to enable global financial markets to align capital with sustainability across the value chain, from production and processing through to distribution and retail. Additional support for this initiative comes from Roberta G. Gordon and Mr. and Mrs. Mark T. DeAngelis.

The initiative will be housed at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. These Centers will facilitate semi-annual workshops reporting on research progress and sharing ideas with collaborators and advisors.