20 July 2023

Oxford University announces winners of inaugural greening finance prize

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Green finance prize award ceremony
From left to right: Dr Alex Money, Abdallah Nauphal, Professor Caroline Flammer, Professor Rob Bauer

The University of Oxford today announced the inaugural winners of a prestigious new prize in green finance. The ‘Insight Investment – University of Oxford Prize for Greening Finance’ is the preeminent prize in an increasingly important area of research and practice. The prize has two categories, for outstanding research and for outstanding service, open to individuals and not-for-profit research teams.

Prize ceremony

A permanent endowment has been established to support the prize in perpetuity through a generous donation from Insight Investment. Up to £50,000 is awarded annually, with a research residency and public lecture at the University of Oxford for the winners.  

The inaugural winners were announced today at the Sheldonian Theatre, the ceremonial heart of the University of Oxford, as part of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Summit – a major annual gathering of researchers and experts working on green finance. 

Greening Finance Prize - Outstanding Service

The winner of the outstanding service category is Mary Schapiro, Vice Chair of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, Chair of the Climate Data Steering Committee, and former Chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Mary Shapiro acceptance speech at the Sheldonian Theatre award ceremony
Mary Shapiro's acceptance speech at the Sheldonian Theatre award ceremony

Mary Schapiro said,

I am deeply honored to receive the inaugural Insight Investment – University of Oxford Prize for Greening Finance. Thank you to the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group, Prize Panel, and Insight Investment for recognizing the impact of TCFD and SASB in mainstreaming consistent, comparable and decision-useful climate-related financial disclosure, and GFANZ's efforts to provide the tools necessary to accelerate the transition to a net-zero global economy. By harnessing the power of capital markets in the fight against climate change, we can build a more resilient financial system and a healthy future for our planet. I am grateful every day to join colleagues around the world working to help us reach a more sustainable, net-zero future.

In Mary Schapiro’s prize citation the judging panel highlighted that her leadership has been instrumental in establishing the new global architecture for sustainability reporting. She led the development of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), which are the two fundamental pillars of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). 

Greening Finance Prize - Research

The winner of the outstanding research category is Professor Caroline Flammer, Professor of International and Public Affairs and of Climate at Columbia University. 

Caroline Flammer acceptance speech at the Sheldonian Theatre award ceremony
Caroline Flammer's prize acceptance at the Sheldonian Theatre ceremony

Professor Caroline Flammer said,

I am deeply humbled and honoured for being awarded this prize recognising my contributions to research. I look forward to continuing advancing scholarship as well as education and dialogue on system-level investing to drive progress in tackling climate change, biodiversity loss, social inequality, and meeting the other UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In Professor Flammer’s prize citation the judging panel highlighted her rigorous articles published in Management Science, the Academy of Management Journal, the Strategic Management Journal, and the Journal of Financial Economics that have had wide impact on sustainable investment and ESG, including papers about the impact of corporate green bonds, CSR and financial performance, and shareholder responses to sustainability. 

Outstanding winners

Commenting on the research prize, Abdallah Nauphal, Chief Executive Officer of Insight Investment, said,

This prize is designed to recognise and reward world class academics who provide the rigorous financial market analysis needed into the effects of environmental factors on investment solutions. Congratulations to Caroline Flammer for forging the way forward through her outstanding contribution to research in green finance. Caroline’s work provides evidence for investment decisions and to support claims being made. We look forward to her lecture later this year and would also like to thank the University of Oxford team for organising the prize. 

Dr Ben Caldecott, Chair of the Prize Panel and the founding Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group at the University of Oxford said,

We have two outstanding winners for the inaugural prize who we celebrate for their roles in driving the adoption and use of green finance research across the global financial system. Huge congratulations to Mary Schapiro and Caroline Flammer. 

We received an impressive range of high-quality nominations for both prize categories and I want to thank all those involved, particularly those that made nominations, my fellow judges, the prize secretariat, and Insight Investment for endowing the prize. By celebrating, showcasing, and financially rewarding world-leading research, we can help to drive its adoption and use. The Oxford prize is endowed in perpetuity, and so we expect the prize's significance and reputation to grow even further over time.