Mr. Cusack is the founder of Gifford Park Associates, which develops and implements innovative strategies for integrating sustainability into multinational businesses and financial firms, addressing key financially-material sustainability and reputational value issues such as climate, clean energy, energy efficiency, climate adaption & resilience, water, green bonds, green buildings, supply chain, and publically-reported sustainable metrics. Mr. Cusack has provided due diligence services to venture capitalists, private equity/M&A firms, mainstream and CSR investors, including having GPA winning awards from Acquisition International Magazine, such as AIM’s “Sustainability Management Advisory Firm of the Year- USA”, for several years. He served as part-time Chief Sustainability Officer of Light Green Advisors for over a decade, helping LGA win and manage its sustainability mandate for CalSTRS. He has been quoted in the Financial Times, the Wall St. Journal, Forbes, and other business and sustainability press outlets.
GPA covers a diverse number of sectors, specializing in the areas of strategic sustainable/environmental management and implementation, socially-responsible investing, clean/renewable technologies, climate change risks and opportunities, environmental finance risks and disclosure, environmental and ESG policy, and the relationship between the environmental, social and financial performance of publicly traded companies. Major GPA clients have included a variety of multinational industrial, energy, and financial firms, including venture capitalists & venture-funded companies, as well as international agencies/governments, including the United Arab Emirates, the UN, OECD, the ICC and the US State Department.
A major project of GPA was providing Mr. Cusack under contract in 1998 to serve as startup CEO for Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, Inc., a financial investment research company that sells environmental & intangible value (including sustainability) performance ratings of publicly traded companies to financial asset management clients and to corporations for benchmarking. Mr. Cusack successfully grew the company from zero to 160+ financial clients on five continents, and raised additional equity investment from a Dutch venture capital firm, a largest European pension fund and a leading US-based mainstream financial institution
After Innovest, he helped rebuild the New York HQ office of the Environmental Risk Consulting Practice of Marsh Inc., the world’s leading risk management/insurance brokerage firm and a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan (MMC). Besides providing environmental risk consulting services to Marsh clients, he also advised MMC Investor Relations, MMC Capital and members of the MMC Board of Directors on how environmental & social performance affects financial performance and in responding to shareholder resolutions to MMC on climate change and SRI issues. Work included providing environmental risk & technology assessments for Marsh clients and working with MMC Capital to identify potential environmental investment opportunities. He also was a member of the MMC Energy Working Group targeting international oil & gas and utility clients, and he coordinated strategic planning efforts of Marsh, Putnam Investments and Mercer Consulting (MMC’s three major subsidiaries) in the areas of climate change, energy, environmental risk management, corporate governance, SRI, and environmental shareholder value.
Other recent GPA client projects included Mr. Cusack assisted RepRisk’s entry into the US market for their ESG Reputation Risk Ratings of 52,000+ companies around the world, including private and publicly-held companies, used for ESG investment/credit analysis, and compliance by major financial firms and businesses and evaluating their ESG reputation risks, as well as an 18-month sustainability and climate change country risk assignment as the Head of Financial Services Risk Management for Maplecroft Limited, an extra-financial/ESG country risk research firm located in the city of Bath in the United Kingdom. There he helped major financial institutional clients such as Barclays and HSBC, extractive/oil & gas sector clients such as Shell and Vale, and investment firm clients (Norges Bank Investment Management, Newton Asset Management, Hermes) manage and identify ESG and country sustainability risks and opportunities that would impact business strategy and services and investment decisions. He significantly grew and maintained Maplecroft’s financial sector revenues in a difficult financial market. Rep Risk recently turned over its US marketing to ISS, and Maplecroft has been sold to Verisk Analytics.
Other clients/partners have included the utility firm Energy East, UNEP-FI, the Chicago Climate Exchange, The World Environment Center (where he was Vice President of Corporate Programs, growing the multinational corporate support for WEC from 40 to 65 firms), the Insurance, Environment & Treasury departments of the State of Connecticut, Toyota North America, Bank of America, Sterling Planet, Duke Energy, PSEG, Trucost Limited, Rothschilds Asset Management, Light Green Advisors (where he serves as part-time sustainability officer and helped LGA win a $50m mandate for sustainable investing from the California State Teachers Pension Fund-CalSTRS), Israel Chemicals Ltd., several financial institutions including some of the top 5 banks in the USA and Europe, several environmental venture capital funds in the US and Europe, and a number of startup companies operating in the areas of carbon finance, environmental risk assessment and clean & renewable technology.
Prior to his experience of starting GPA and managing it for the past decade, Mr. Cusack was the lead executive in North America and Europe of several subsidiaries of Asea Brown Boveri (ABB). ABB is a leading multinational energy and industrial products and services firm, where Mr. Cusack also served as liaison with ABB’s energy/environmental venture capital funds, and as advisor to ABB Corporate Environmental Affairs. One of the companies he started up for ABB was ABB Sanitec Inc., an energy-efficient environmental technology company. Mr. Cusack was also responsible for managing ABB Sanitec GmbH and its sales agents in a number of European, South American and Asian countries, and serving as its liaison with EPRI. He also served as President of ABB Environmental Monitoring Services Inc., advising its general manager through ABB EMSI’s startup phase of its unique fence-line and stack emissions monitoring systems for the chemical, oil & gas and utility industries. He also served as the Director of Technology Marketing, Biotechnology & Environmental Services, for ABB’s engineering subsidiary, Lummus Crest working with the oil & gas, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Earlier he had worked in Consolidated Edison’s Office of Environmental Affairs evaluating new energy & environmental technology, and was on the Corporate Technology (R&D) staff of Combustion Engineering Inc., where he was responsible for energy/environmental/ biotechnology development funding & policy, internal dissemination of a broad range of emerging technology information via newsletters, seminars and conferences, preparing long-range and short-range strategic plans at the corporate & business unit level, and maintaining relationships with, and representing CE at board meetings of, venture-backed companies in which the firm had invested. He was also liaison for CE and ABB to international organizations such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Environment Center, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the International Camber of Commerce. Earlier in his career he worked on sustainable infrastructure development projects in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, West Africa, South America and the Middle East.
He has a BCE in Civil Engineering & a MCE in Environmental Engineering & Science from Manhattan College, an MBA with concentrations in finance and management from New York University, and is a registered Professional Engineer in New York State.
He has served on a number of advisory boards on sustainability, energy, environmental and technology issues for academic institutions, not-for-profit organizations, industrial companies and government agencies. He has guest lectured on technology, sustainability and environmental finance/risk issues at Yale, North Carolina, RPI, NYU, Columbia, NJIT, INSEAD, Erasmus, Oregon, Tufts, Iona, and other colleges and universities, and testified at a congressional briefing on climate change and as an expert witness for court cases. He teaches as an adjunct professor undergraduate and MBA courses on sustainable finance and ethics at the Hagen School of Business at Iona College, and at MBA, Science and Engineering programs at Alfred University, Bard College, Marylhurst University, Stevens Institute of Technology and SUNY-Purchase.
As head of Gifford Park Associates, his advice on socially-responsible investing, energy/environmental technology and sustainability management been sought by the leaders of the Environmental Bankers Association, the UNEP Financial Initiative, the Environmental Management Association of German Banks, Savings Banks & Insurance Companies, the Conference Board, the General Accounting Office, the Carbon Disclosure Project, the Social Investment Forum, CERES, federal and international regulatory agencies, the US House of Representatives, and the heads of environmental affairs/issues at leading financial institutions and a number of state and local pension funds and renewable energy funds. He has been the chair of the advisory board of the NY Energy & Environmental Funders Forum, and served on the advisory boards of the NJ Sustainable State Institute, the NJ Corporation for Advanced Technologies and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. He is a citizen of the Republic of Ireland and the United States of America.
View John L. Cusack’s Professional Affiliations.
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