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February 10, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm PST

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The Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI) at UBC is delighted to present a seminar with Eric Usher, Head of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI). Mr. Usher leads UNEP-FI’s efforts to develop norms and standards for sustainable finance that ensure private finance fulfils its potential role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Over the years UNEP FI has established some of the most important sustainability oriented frameworks within the finance industry, including the Principles for Responsible Investment (2006), the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (2012) and the recently launched Principles for Responsible Banking (2019). In discussion with Dr. Priya Bala-Miller, CIRDI’s Director of Partnerships and Program Development, Mr. Usher will share his experience and insights on how this unique global institution works across stakeholder groups to convene ambitious collection action solutions, facilitates shared learning, and co-develops practical resources for meaningful change.

Date & Venue:

February 10, 2020

12:00pm -1:30pm

SFU Harbour Centre, 515 W Hastings St, Room 1403

A light lunch will be served.

Please RSVP now as the number of seats is limited.

Speaker Bios

  • Eric Usher oversees governance, strategy and day-to-day management of UNEP FI’s work programme and global network development. Since joining in 2015, Mr. Usher has focused on accelerating the integration of sustainability risks into financial practice, including addressing climate change, natural capital loss and human rights abuses, as well as building out the frameworks for positive impact finance needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Eric sits on several industry bodies including as UN representative on the Board of the Principles for Responsible Investment, and as a member of the Governing Board of the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, of the Evaluation Council of the French Sovereign Green Bond and the board of the impact fund REPP Africa. Prior to leading UNEP FI, Mr. Usher has over twenty years of experience in the low carbon sectors, spanning technology commercialization in Canada, solar rural electrification in Morocco and financial sector development across emerging markets. During 2011, Mr. Usher worked on the establishment of the Green Climate Fund and led efforts to create its Private Sector Facility. Eric has been an editor of the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report published annually with Bloomberg and was lead author for finance of the IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources.
  • Dr. Priya Bala-Miller is the Director of Partnerships and Program Development at CIRDI. She has over seventeen years of professional experience in sustainable development with specialist expertise on gender equality, human rights and sustainable finance. She has previously worked with UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector to advance corporate social responsibility from rights-based and materiality lenses in a variety of industry sectors. She earned an MA in Conflict Analysis and Management from Royal Roads University, where her dissertation evaluated the role of global companies in the trade of conflict minerals originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2019, she was awarded a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of British Columbia for a thesis that examined the human rights policies and practices of large institutional investors, with case illustrations covering extractives projects in Burma, Sudan, Papua New Guinea and Western Sahara. Dr. Bala-Miller has published articles, book chapters and policy briefs on these topics.


UNEP-FI is a partnership between UNEP and the global financial sector to mobilize private sector finance for sustainable development. UNEP FI works with more than 300 members – banks, insurers, and investors – and over 100 supporting institutions – to help create a financial sector that serves people and planet while delivering positive impacts. We aim to inspire, inform and enable financial institutions to improve people’s quality of life without compromising that of future generations. By leveraging the UN’s role, UNEP FI accelerates sustainable finance.


CIRDI is a centre of expertise on natural resource governance, housed at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA) at the University of British Columbia. CIRDI works on systemic public administration reform, advancing solutions to the climate crisis, and sustainable livelihoods for artisanal miners, with a view to supporting governments and other stakeholders in catalyzing sustainable natural resource management and governance to achieve the 2030 Global Sustainable Development Goals.


February 10, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm PST