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Centre for Building Sustainable Value · Rebecca Zuker, HBA '23 Candidate

Ivey goes international – Sustainable careers worldwide

Dec 9, 2022

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Mike in Glasgow for COP26’s Energy Transition Day in November 2021

During Mike Harvey’s (HBA/BESc 2016) time at Ivey, his interests centered on the intersection between finance, data analytics and policy. Sparked by entrepreneurship and sustainability, Mike was able to personalize his education and explore his different interests as a result of Ivey’s diverse course options. 

“Ivey teaches you how to think critically about issues and to have a voice for things that you care about. Through case studies, you are placed in a position to solve real-world problems. This gave me the confidence to speak up.”  

Finding the right path 

Mike began his career in engineering consulting (HDR), afterward moving into a financial advisory role (Deloitte). Mike found that the projects he worked on considered sustainability, but often lacked material commercial implications of ESG in their business plans.  

In 2017, while working with Deloitte on social infrastructure in Denmark, he began to take note of the advancements in Europe driving the global sustainability landscape. Specifically, SFDR (investors) and NFRD/CSRD (corporates), the UN's SDGs and TCFD. Mike continued to see an eagerness in the market both in Canada and Europe, often with oversubscriptions for Sustainability-Linked Loans. Mike moved back to Europe in 2020, with his growing passion for Climate and ESG, seizing the opportunity to merge his interests into one; sustainable finance & ESG. 

“I wanted to create change, both at the investor and portfolio company level, by integrating ESG value creation levers into the investment process for private capital. I credit the book “Value(s): Building a Better World for All” by Mark Carney to help me actively think about market-based solutions in the world of Climate and ESG.”  

Combining Interests  

Mike joined Environmental Resource Management (ERM) in 2021. ERM is the largest global pure play sustainability consultancy, acquired by KKR last year at a USD 3-billion valuation. Working at ERM allows Mike to advise on sustainable finance & ESG and to focus on the Just Transition: to help workers and communities thrive in a net-zero carbon economy 

“Sustainability is core to everything that we do at ERM. We practice the same things that we preach to our clients. ERM has launched the first-of-it’s-kind ESG rating platform for private markets, published an approved SBTi Net-Zero plan by 2025 for our business, contributed to 100+ GW of installed renewable energy capacity in our projects, issued a detailed TCFD report, and aligned our business to the UN SDGs. And this is just the beginning.” 

Mike leads strategic engagements with the world’s largest financial services clients, including decarbonization, TCFD-aligned physical/transition climate risk assessments, and ESG strategy/due diligence. There is increasing demand for Climate and ESG across the entire value chain of both corporates and investors, from strategy to implementation. Mike keeps a close eye on startups in ESG as he thinks automation will play a key role in accelerating the pace of change.  

As Mike reflects on his career journey thus far, he has advice for students interested in a career that follows their sustainability passion. The time to enter the space is NOW. The demand for sustainability worldwide is growing. No matter what area of sustainability/ESG you are interested in, whether it’s environmental, social, or governance related. Keeping your values close and letting them guide your investments, and decisions, is how to stay successful.