147. Deirdre Cooper of Ninety One – Sustainability as a Recurring Theme and Driving Force

Deirdre Cooper is Co-Head of Thematic Equity at Ninety One, with a particular focus on sustainable investing.  She is an Advisory Board Member at the Imperial College Centre for Climate Finance and an Advisory Board Member of Girls Who Invest.  She previously founded the Clean Tech group in Morgan Stanley where she worked in M&A in London and Menlo Park.

Our conversation starts with her Irish roots, and her early days in investment banking, where her interest in sustainability started to take root.  When she mentioned a stint focusing on micro-finance in Lahore, Pakistan, I couldn’t resist spending some time on this aspect of her experience, and the impression it made on her as well as what it taught her about how we can create impact, but how difficult it is to measure it.

Climate tech and clean tech have been a focus of Deirdre’s for well over a decade and we examine how that has informed her new role as head of thematic equities and portfolio manager of a sustainable equity fund at Ninety One. We then turn to greenwashing and whether it is a problem in an industry where products are continuing to proliferate.

We finally turn to words of wisdom and are reminded not to be afraid to ask questions.

Series 3 is brought to you with the kind support of Federated Hermes, Inc., a leading global investment manager. Guided by their conviction that responsible investing is the best way to create wealth over the long term, their investment solutions span equity, fixed-income, alternative/private markets, multi-asset and liquidity strategies and a range of separately managed accounts, distributed through intermediaries worldwide.