Blackstone Inc. is hiring Jean Rogers, founder of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, to lead its expanding global ESG effort.
Rogers will run the firm’s corporate environmental, social and governance group, focusing on integration, strategy and reporting across its businesses and portfolio companies, according to a statement. She will join the New York-based firm, which has $731 billion in assets, in January.
“There’s tremendous opportunity in private equity to build companies correctly from the start and incorporate ESG in the DNA,” Rogers, who was chief executive officer of the San Francisco-based non-profit SASB for six years, said in an interview. “You can build the companies for the 21st century and the type of economy we need, taking into account stakeholder priorities.”
The world’s largest alternative asset manager is boosting its focus on ESG as concerns about climate change and other social issues rise across Wall Street.
Like its peers, Blackstone is ramping up hiring: It added 12 employees this year across its corporate staff, portfolio operations and asset management groups to focus on sustainability. It also plans to further build out the group to focus on renewable power and real estate, according to Christine Anderson, who has been acting head of the firm’s ESG efforts.
Amid the new Wall Street focus on ESG, critics have argued that asset managers have exaggerated their environmental credentials. Private equity firms, in particular, have faced scrutiny for long being backers of fossil-fuel deals.
The hiring of Rogers comes after Blackstone recently restructured its sustainable investing strategy, abandoning plans for a dedicated impact fund in favor of deploying capital across multiple vehicles.
Since leaving SASB in 2018, Rogers has been working as an adviser to companies regarding ESG integration. She previously worked at consulting firm Arup, with a focus on sustainable development, and at Deloitte.
Rogers said she’s looking at ways to drive value across the firm’s asset classes and to focus on the “two big issues of our decade: Diversity and decarbonization.”
Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, is chair emeritus of the Value Reporting Foundation, formerly the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.