You are here

CEPAR-UNSW Business School Forum - Connections: ESG, Pension Fund Investment, Public Policy and the Future


CEPAR-UNSW Business School Forum

Connections: ESG, Pension Fund Investment, Public Policy and the Future

Jointly hosted by CEPAR and the UNSW Business School

Friday, 22 July, 8.30am - 1.00pm

Venue: UNSW Sydney/Bedegal Country (Sydney, Australia)* and online

Jump to:


Register to join in person or virtually.




DRAFT PROGRAM (subject to minor changes)

22 July 2022, Sydney (Australian Eastern Standard Time [AEST])


Registration and Welcome Tea


Welcome and Opening Remarks

John Piggott, Director, CEPAR, Scientia Professor of Economics, UNSW Sydney


Session 1: New Perspectives on ESG: Connections with Pension Investment, Pension Design and the Macroeconomy

Chair: Hazel Bateman


Pensions and ESG: The economics is straightforward, but the politics …

Nick Barr, Professor of Public Economics, London School of Economics


ESG Investment by Pension Funds - Selected Policy Issues

André Laboul, Chief Policy Advisor of the International Organisation of Pension Supervisors (IOPS)


Connections between the Macroeconomic Environment and ESG Factors

Warwick McKibbin, Distinguished Professor of Economics, CEPAR, Australian National University


Morning Tea


Session 2: Panel Discussion

Chair: Marc de Cure, CEPAR Advisory Board Chair, Adjunct Professor, CEPAR, UNSW Business School



Amy Auster, Partner, State Government Funds, PwC

Joanna Chang, Investment Risk Specialist, APRA

Liza McDonald, Head of Responsible Investments, Aware Super


Closing Remarks

About the Forum:

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are receiving increasing attention in the financial, investment management and policy community. Climate change and its environmental impact poses major challenges for society; social justice issues such as reducing exploitative and unfair labour conditions are gaining increasing profile among consumers; and the complexity of the external environment requires better governance.

Pension funds, and in particular their investment policies and priorities, are at the centre of these developments. On the one hand, pensions are increasingly pre-funded. The dramatic increases in asset accumulation in recent decades within pension funds attests to their potential influence in ESG implementation. This contrasts sharply with earlier eras of retirement policy, which was built largely around income flows between generations, mediated through centralised government structures.

This CEPAR-UNSW Business School Forum is about the connections that pension funds and policymakers need to make between pension assets (and equally, liabilities) and ESG considerations, as well as with social objectives. The long term nature of pension contracts indicates that thinking about value requires careful consideration of the range of factors likely to affect the environment and future market demand. Equally, the long term nature of pre-funded pension contracts requires robust and foresightful governance.

ESG policy and its implementation faces major challenges, from determining the scope of ESG to formulating appropriate guidelines that balance national concerns and underlying values of ESG with pension fund member interests. 

This Forum aims to advance thinking and debate on how to implement ESG most effectively in coming years. Issues such as the appropriate level and scope of ESG, issues of measurement and regulation, the relative weights that should be accorded the various domains of ESG (for example human rights, acceptable methods and products e.g. guns and environment) will be explored. Both macro and micro perspectives will be presented. The macroeconomic context in which there will be increasing decentralisation of global production and more automation will also be an important part of the discussion.

The Forum will comprise three presentations from academic and institutional experts, followed by a Discussion Panel comprising practice professionals and chaired by Marc de Cure, CEPAR Advisory Board Chair and Adjunct Professor, CEPAR, UNSW Business School.

Confirmed speakers include:

Nick Barr, Professor of Public Economics, London School of Economics

André Laboul, Chief Policy Advisor of the International Organisation of Pensions Supervisors (IOPS), Senior Advisor and Lecturer in various institutions

Warwick McKibbin, Distinguished Professor of Economics, CEPAR, Australian National University

ESG Forum Speakers:

Nicholas Barr FRSA has an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He is Professor of Public Economics at the London School of Economics, writing widely on topics relating to the welfare state, including 130 papers in scholarly journals and edited volumes, and over twenty books, including The Economics of the Welfare State (6th edition, 2020), Pension Reform: A Short Guide (with Peter Diamond) (2010, also in Chinese and Spanish), and Financing Higher Education: Answers from the UK (with Iain Crawford), (2005).

André Laboul held senior positions at the OECD including as the Special financial advisor to OECD G20 Sherpa, the Head of OECD Financial Affairs Division (in charge of finance, insurance, pensions, debt management, financial education and consumer protection) and the OECD coordinator for infrastructure. He was also the Secretary General of IOPS (International Organisation of Pension Supervisors), Chair of the INFE (International Network for Financial Education) and managing Editor of the Journal of Pension Economics and Finance. After retiring end of 2021, André’s current engagements include Lecturer at Science Po, Dauphine University and Edhec in France. He is also the chief policy advisory of IOPS, senior advisor at EDHEC Infra institute, and senior policy advisor at INFE.

Warwick McKibbin AO, FASSA is a Distinguished Professor of Economics and Public Policy and Director of the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA) in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University (ANU). He is also Director of Policy Engagement, and ANU Node Leader, of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR). Professor McKibbin is internationally renowned for his contributions to global economic modeling. Professor McKibbin has published more than 200 academic papers as well as being a regular commentator in the popular press. He has authored/edited 5 books including “Climate Change Policy after Kyoto: A Blueprint for a Realistic Approach” with Professor Peter Wilcoxen of Syracuse University. He has been a consultant for many international agencies and a range of governments on issues of macroeconomic policy, international trade and finance, greenhouse policy issues, global demographic change, and the economic cost of pandemics.

Important information for in-person attendance (status: June 2022)

Feeling unwell? Do not come to campus if you have any symptoms, are unwell, have tested positive to COVID-19 or you are considered a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case. If subsequent to  attending the event you are required to be tested for COVID-19, please alert us at cepar@unsw.edu.au to complete the online form:    https://www.covid-19.unsw.edu.au/covid-19-case-notification

Health and safety protocol: 

  • Check-in to buildings/spaces where available; 
  • Maintain physical distancing and density limits of not more than 1 person per 2sqm indoors; 
  • Wash or sanitise your hands regularly; 
  • Keep a safe distance from others;
  • In line with the changes to the NSW Government’s guidance, from Friday 25 February the University’s guidance on wearing face masks is while no longer be mandatory in all indoor areas, we strongly encourage you to wear masks in indoor settings on campus, particularly in classrooms and where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Staff and students and visitors should continue to feel comfortable wearing a mask whenever they wish and we encourage you to wear a good quality mask – N95, P2 or surgical mask.

We appreciate that we are asking you to take a range of measures to help us prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect you and the community. Thank you for your understanding. 

The safety and wellbeing of participants is paramount to the Forum committee. We acknowledge the ever-changing COVID-19 situation has created uncertainty, also in terms of future travel, both interstate and overseas. At this stage the event will take place with a mix of in-person and online participation and subject to the COVID-19 caveat with regard to government and university restrictions in place at the time, however, if circumstances restrict this we will convert to an online event entirely. All registered participants will be kept updated.


The ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) is a unique collaboration between academia, government and industry, committed to delivering solutions to one of the major economic and social challenges of the 21st century.

About the UNSW Business School

UNSW Business School equips the next generation of business professionals with the skills to thrive in an ever-changing world. From undergraduate, postgraduate and postgraduate research to our AGSM MBA, UNSW Business School offers an extensive choice of programs designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the contemporary workplace. Our curriculum is built with a ‘career ready’ mindset and students are immersed in active learning experiences and exposed to practical skills and tools they can immediately apply to real business problems.

Ranked among the top 50 universities globally, we attract the highest potential students from Australia and around the world. Our researchers tackle the biggest economic, business and social challenges with partners around the world.  


Friday, July 22, 2022 - 08:30
End date: 
Friday, July 22, 2022 - 13:00
Dual mode