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John L. Cusack
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John L. Cusack, Founder of Gifford Park Associates

 

Mr. Cusack is a recognized sustainable business and finance executive with an extensive

record of success in integrating sustainability into operations, technology and risk

management, as well as advising insurance and risk management firms, multinational

businesses, ESG/sustainability rating/research agencies, NGOs, asset managers, institutional

investors, clean technology startups, academic institutions and private equity/venture firms,

and has shaped a distinct focused approach to sustainable business practices.

 

He recently finished a year’s assignment living and working in the city of Bath in the UK as

Head of Financial Services Risk Management for Maplecroft Limited, an extra-financial/ESG

(Environmental, Social and Governance) country risk research firm. There he helped large

financial institutions manage risk and identify ESG opportunities that would impact their

reputation, business strategy and bottom line growth.

 

As a pioneer in the financial aspects of sustainability, Mr. Cusack founded Gifford Park Associates

(GPA) in 1993. Through GPA he created several sustainability business initiatives, including

Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, an early sustainability rating metrics/investment research

firm. Innovest is now part of MSCI ESG Research. Based on his ability to develop, value,

finance and rapidly grow businesses, Mr. Cusack has served as sustainability catalyst and

investment advisor to such clients as Bank of America, Barclays, Norges Bank Investment

Management, OPTrust, UBS, Credit Suisse, Access Industries, Deutsche Telekom, Asea

Brown Boveri (ABB), Vattenfall, Iberdrola, PSEG, Toyota, Israel Chemicals Ltd., Parhelion

Capital, the Long Island Venture Fund, EcoCarbon Innovations, ConAgra, Johnson &

Johnson, BMW/Quandt Foundation, Biotechnology Investments Ltd., Marsh & McLennan,

the Chicago Climate Exchange, the World Environment Center, Meteka GmbH, , WHEB

Cleantech Ventures, Sanofi, and the UAE government.

 

As part of GPA, Mr. Cusack became Chief Sustainability Officer of Light Green Advisors

(LGA), advising on portfolio construction, risk and strategy for LGA’s large-cap equities

sustainability investment mandate for the CalSTRS pension fund, an investment strategy

which outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 10+% for over a decade by selecting the 80 most

sustainable companies in the S&P 500.

 

Between 2001 and 2003 Cusack was Senior Vice President and head of the NY office of the

Marsh Environmental Risk Management Consulting practice. Here he worked with Marsh’s

sister firms, Marsh, Mercer, Lippencott, and Putnam Investments, advising on sustainability,

environmental reporting, liability disclosure/insurance, and climate risk/opportunity

management, mitigation and investment. He advised Putnam Investments’ analysts on

investment implications of climate change, ESG, and renewable energy technology

risk/opportunity issues.

 

In the academic world, he developed and taught a course on Sustainable Finance since 2006 at

Iona College’s Hagen School of Business aimed at senior finance majors and MBA students,

taught over 12 sections since 2009 of Finance & Sustainability course for the on-line MBA in

Sustainable Business program at Marylhurst University, taught a Renewable Energy course to

students at SUNY-Purchase College, and was recently chosen to teach the “Finance for

Sustainability” course at the Bard College MBA in Sustainability program. Mr. Cusack also

served for 6 years as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership

for Sustainability (NJHEPS), a consortium of 45+ colleges and universities at the presidential

level which included training faculty, students, facilities managers, provosts, presidents and

board members on integrating sustainability into interdisciplinary research, curriculum,

operations, and society.

 

Prior to founding GPA, Mr. Cusack was the founding CEO/lead executive of several

cleantech subsidiaries in Europe and North America for Asea Brown Boveri (ABB). He

advised ABB’s $70+ million energy and environmental technology venture capital fund and

ABB Corporate Environmental Affairs on sustainability issues, including selling their coalrelated

power equipment business to minimize future carbon liabilities. He also worked

closely with the board and senior executives of Combustion Engineering Inc. on clean energy

& environmental technology commercialization and research before it was bought by ABB.

 

Mr. Cusack has served on numerous financial and regulatory boards guiding environmental

and sustainability policy development and program implementation on local, national and

international levels, working with the USEPA, the Conference Board, the UNEP-Finance

Initiative, the Financial Incentives Working Group of the National Environmental Policy

Institute, the CT State Treasurer’s Office, the Environmental Business Association of NY

State, and the CT Climate Change Education Committee. He is an international speaker on

integrating sustainability into finance and business, and has guest-lectured at UNC, INSEAD,

MIT, Yale, Columbia, Wesleyan, RPI, Princeton, Erasmus, Tufts, Cornell, VSEM (Prague),

the Advent Institute of Management Studies(Udaipur), and invited to speak at St. Petersburg

State University (Russia) on sustainability, business and globalization.

 

Mr. Cusack is a dual EU (Irish) and US citizen. He has a BCE in Civil Engineering and a

MCE in Environmental Engineering & Science from Manhattan College, and MBA from the

Stern School of Business at New York University.

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