Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University, Former Obama Environmental Adviser
Daniel Esty Bio
Daniel C. Esty is the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University and one of the world's leading experts on environmental regulation and reform, energy policy, sustainability metrics, and corporate sustainability strategy. He has served in government at the local, state, and national levels -- and has advised dozens of companies in a range of industries across the world on energy, environment, and sustainability issues. His prizewinning book, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage, argues that pollution control and natural resource management have become critical elements of marketplace success and explains how leading-edge companies have folded environmental thinking into their core business strategies. His work on corporate sustainability now encompasses dozens of articles and three highly regarded books including the recent, The Labyrinth of Sustainability: Green Business Lessons from Latin American Corporate Leaders.
Esty speaks from his wealth of experience from years in government, decades of teaching, and work with hundreds of companies across the world. Building on extensive research on green business and sustainable investing as well as personal experience with a range of leading companies, foundations, and NGOs, Esty's presentations on corporate sustainability and finance explain--in clear and compelling terms--how companies can obain an "eco-advantage" in the marketplace and how investors can bring a sustainability lens to their portfolios.
Leadership and scholarship. Esty holds faculty appointments in both Yale's environment and law schools with a secondary appointment at the Yale School of Management. He also serves as the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy (www.yale.edu/envirocenter) and on the board of the Center for Business & Environment at Yale (www.yale.edu/CBEY), which he founded in 2006. His recent research and writing offers cutting-edge thinking about climate change, the critical importance of innovation, corporate sustainability, and new approaches to environmental protection -- including a widely hailed recent article, "Red Lights to Green Lights: From 20th Century Environmental Regulation to 21st Century Sustainability" as well as a 2019 edited book, A Better Planet: 40 Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future.
On leave from Yale in 2011- 14, Professor Esty served as Commissioner (head) of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. In this role, he gained national attention for his work to streamline environmental permitting and improve pollution control approaches as well as his breakthrough energy strategy that included the launch of the nation's first Green Bank, which dramatically expanded clean energy investments in Connecticut using limited public funds to leverage private capital.
Prior to taking up his current position at Yale, Esty was a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, served in a variety of senior positions on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and practiced law in Washington, DC. He is the author or editor of eleven books and numerous articles on environmental strategy, policy, governance, and regulation, and comments frequently on environmental issues on television and radio, as well as in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, the New York Times, the Economist, Forbes, and Fortune.
Esty has received numerous environmental awards and citations, including the 2002 American Bar Association Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy for "pioneering a data-driven approach to environmental decision making" and developing the global Environmental Sustainability Index. He served four years as an elected planning and zoning commissioner in his hometown of Cheshire, Connecticut.
Energy and Environmental advisor. As chairman of Esty Group, a corporate environmental strategy group with clients around the world, Esty brings both great insight and a practical, business-like approach to corporate sustainability issues and the broader challenges of environmental protection in the current era. He sits on the board of trustees of Resources for the Future (a Washington, D.C. think tank), and The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut, as well as several corporate boards. He is also a principal with a start-up FinTech firm, Constellation Research and Technology, that has developed a breakthrough structure of company-scale sustainability data analytics designed to help investors restructure their portfolios with an eye toward corporate Environmental/Social/Governance (ESG) leaders.
Daniel Esty's expertise covers myriad subjects including: climate change, carbon markets, U.S. regulatory reform, energy trends and the transition to a sustainable energy future, trade and the environment, corporate sustainability and finance, as well as the "next generation" environmental policy. An admired professor and award-winning lecturer, his ease and direction when speaking connects with audiences great and small. He offers informative and engaging presentations that address some of the most pressing issues of our time.