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TOP 10 most read Thought Leaders in ESG in 2022

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By illuminem

· 5 min read


Enjoy our 2023 Thought Leader rankings on Climate ChangeCarbonSocial Responsibility, Energy and Overall

At we take pride in calling ourselves the “home of sustainability” and in providing a global platform for renowned Thought Leaders to address & constructively debate the most pressing challenges of our time.

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) factors are critical for advancing sustainability by promoting responsible business practices that balance economic growth with the well-being of people and the planet. Integrating ESG factors into business operations ensures that companies consider the long-term impacts of their decisions and actions. Today, we are honored to recognize and thank the most-read experts and change-makers who are shaping the ESG debate on


Please help us congratulate our TOP 10 ESG Thought Leaders of the year:

1️⃣ Florian Heeb - Researcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Country: Switzerland
Latest Thought Piece: What Fake Suede and the Future of Impact Investment Have to Do With One Another
Profile: Florian is a Postdoctoral Associate at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He explores the real-world impact of sustainable investing and how investors integrate impact into their decision-making. Besides his research, Florian serves as a member of the board of directors of ESG-AM, a Zurich-based asset manager focused on impact and sustainability. Before joining MIT, Florian did research at the Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth (CSP) at the University of Zurich.

2️⃣ Federico d'Annunzio - CEO, Traent
Country: Italy
Latest Thought Piece: European ESG Landscape: a Linkedin based analysis
Profile: Federico d'Annunzio is the Founder and CEO of Traent, a pioneering company developing blockchain technology built upon the vision that relationships between businesses will be centered on transparency. Federico spent the first phase of his career in the capital equipment industry. In 2020, he was awarded the R. Stanton Avery Global Achievement Award, for his contribution to the innovation of the label industry.

3️⃣ Shivaram Rajgopal - Professor, Columbia University
Country: India
Latest Thought Piece: A First Look At The SEC’s New ESG Funds Disclosure Rule
Profile: Shiva Rajgopal is the Kester and Byrnes Professor at Columbia Business School where he has also served as the Vice Dean of Research. He works on sustainability and financial reporting questions and is deeply interested in bringing academic work to bear on practical and policy issues. Previously, he was a faculty member at Duke University, Emory University, and the University of Washington.

4️⃣ Georg Kell - Founder, United Nations Global Compact & Chairman, Arabesque
Country: Germany
Latest Thought Piece: ESG 2.0 Is in the Making
Profile: Georg Kell is a prominent figure in the field of sustainable business and corporate social responsibility. He is the founding Director of the UN Global Compact, the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative. He currently serves as the Chairman of Arabesque, a technology company that uses AI and big data to assess sustainability performance. Georg is also the spokesperson for the Volkswagen Sustainability Council where he plays an instrumental role in promoting the company's sustainability initiatives.

5️⃣ Mark Esposito - Co-founder & CLO, Nexus FrontierTech & Affiliate Faculty, Harvard Business School
Country: United States of America
Latest Thought Piece: Are platforms silently killing the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
Profile: Dr. Mark Esposito is a bestselling author, and the co-founder & Chief Learning Officer at Nexus FrontierTech. Mark is a global expert of the World Economic Forum and advisor to national governments. He is currently advisor for the Prime Minister Office in the UAE. Mark has also held several academic appointments for some of the world’s leading institutions such as Hult International Business School (where he is Director of the Future Readiness Impact Lab), Harvard Business School, University of Cambridge and many more. 

6️⃣ Robert Rubinstein - Chairman & Founder, TBLI Group
Country: Netherlands
Latest Thought Piece: The Power of Impact Investing
Profile: Robert Rubinstein is the chairman and founder of TBLI Group. He has worked on creating consciousness for sustainable values and has led money flows in ESG and impact investments over the past 25 years. He has been instrumental in championing Sustainable and Impact investments dedicated to solving critical social issues.

7️⃣ Emma McGarthy - Managing Director of the Sustainable Policy Institute, Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF)
Country: United Kingdom
Latest Thought Piece: Is it time to say RIP to ESG?
Profile: Emma McGarthy is Head of the Sustainable Policy Institute at the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF). She works on researching trends, developing relationships and programming meetings for the Sustainable Policy Institute. She also worked as a conference producer, leading on content, research and building key industry relationships in the sustainability sector.

8️⃣ Paul Smith - Director, Financial Modeling Institute (FMI) & fmr. CEO, CFA Institute
Country: Hong Kong
Latest Thought Piece: The Elephant in the Room: the Contradiction within ESG
Profile: Paul Smith, CFA, is the founder of SustainFinance, a firm with the mission of integrating sustainability into the decision making process of financial fiduciaries. He is also the Director of the Financial Modeling Institute and a Licensed Representative of Peak Capital Limited. Previously to these positions, Paul was the President and CEO of the CFA Institute. He has more than 25 years of relevant financial services leadership experience in many aspects of the investment management industry.

9️⃣ Axel Reinaud - CEO, NetZero & fmr. Managing Director, BCG
Country: France
Latest Thought Piece: Greed and fear will save the climate!​ ​
Profile: Axel Reinaud is the co-founder & CEO of NetZero, a climate venture dedicated to long-term carbon removal. NetZero extracts carbon from agricultural waste in tropical developing countries, and converts it into a permanent soil amendment (biochar) and electricity. Prior to launching NetZero, Axel was at Boston Consulting Group for 23 years, holding several client and internal leadership positions.

🔟 Lucie Pinson - Executive Director, Reclaim Finance
Country: France
Latest Thought Piece: An inconvenient truth: How passive investing is blocking climate progress
Profile: Lucie Pinson is the founder and executive director of Reclaim Finance, a data-driven campaigning NGO which focuses on the decarbonisation of financial flows. She received the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2020 for her work against the financing of coal projects.

To stay updated on this category, please visit our dedicated ESG page.

To publish on illuminem amongst our illuminem Thought Leaders contact us.​

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