GIC appoints a new sustainability head nearly a year after the role was vacated

Following the departure of its inaugural head of sustainability Rachel Teo last August, Emily Chew joins the Singapore sovereign wealth fund from Morgan Stanley’s responsible investing subsidiary.

Emily Chew GIC
Emily Chew joins GIC from Morgan Stanley's responsible investing subsidiary Calvert Research and Management to lead the Singapore sovereign wealth fund's sustainability office. She will spearhead efforts to deepen its sustainability-related research and improve its investment processes. Image: Emily Chew

GIC has appointed Emily Chew as the Singapore sovereign wealth fund’s new head of sustainability.

Chew has held several senior sustainability roles over the last decade before joining the investment entity in June. 

Most recently, she was with Morgan Stanley’s responsible investing subsidiary Calvert Research and Management as their executive vice president since 2021, after serving as the United States financial giant’s first global head of sustainability for a year.

Before Calvert, Chew was the global head of environmental, social and governance (ESG) research and integration at Canada-based asset management firm Manulife Investment Management and vice president of Asia Pacific ESG research at global index provider MSCI.

Chew will lead GIC’s sustainability office, set up in 2022, to drive the integration of sustainability into its investments and corporate processes. Her predecessor Rachel Teo left the organisation last August, just over a year after taking on the newly created position.

In April 2023, Teo co-wrote a paper exploring the likelihoods of the four main scenarios GIC uses to assess the impact of climate risks on their financial returns Net Zero, Delayed Disorderly Transition, Too Little Too Late and Failed Transition playing out.

Among the four, the report found the Too Little Too Late scenario to be most probable, followed by the Failed Transition scenario. Both scenarios suggest that investors need to factor in elevated transition and physical risks linked to a disruptive low-carbon transition. Meanwhile, the Net Zero scenario appeared to be highly unlikely.

Teo, who spent 18 years at GIC, concurrently headed its economics and investment strategy department’s total portfolio sustainable investing. GIC did not mention if Chew will also assume Teo’s additional job function, in response to Eco-Business’ queries.

In March, Bloomberg reported that Teo has since been hired by the family office of Google co-founder Sergey Brin to help manage green investments.

A GIC spokesperson said that Emily and her team “will spearhead GIC’s efforts to deepen our capabilities in sustainability-related research, analyse fast-evolving themes, examine their implications for investment and champion enhancements to our investment processes across the enterprise.”

GIC, which manages the Singapore government’s foreign assets, is one of the three entities that manage the country’s reserves, alongside the country’s central bank Monetary Authority of Singapore and state investor Temasek. 

While the fund manager does not disclose its assets under management, research firm Global SWF estimates it to be at US$769 billion.

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