Georg Kell

Georg Kell

Chairman of the Board at Arabesque Partners, Founding Director of the United Nations Global Compact

“Human history is a story of violence and wars. Whether or not humanity can learn from the past and contain its dark forces remains a key question that will also define our future. Europe embodies the best hope we have to build the future we want. But the image of a rock in troubled waters, surrounded by power-seeking, autocratic, failing, or systemically corrupt states, is challenged from within. The same forces that shape the global landscape are also at work within Europe. Technological change is disrupting industrial-era systems and eroding trust in established authorities, planetary boundaries are challenging conventional measures of well-being, and strategic power shifts along with demographic changes are re-balancing the post-WWII order. We live in an era of accelerating changes which have outpaced the ability of established structures to adapt to them, let alone give guidance. Yes, Europe is also vulnerable to the dark angels of humanity – ethnic chauvinism, populism and protectionism. Rationality in its broadest sense must again compete with the myths of the past that still give meaning to people’s lives while at the same time give guidance and hope.”

Georg Kell is the founding Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative with over 9,000 corporate signatories in more than 160 countries. Georg helped to establish the UN Global Compact as the foremost platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible and sustainable corporate policies and practices. In a career of more than 25 years at the United Nations, he also oversaw the conception and launch of the Global Compact’s sister initiatives on investment, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and on education, the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), together with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative. Georg is Chairman of Arabesque, an ESG Quant fund manager that uses self-learning quantitative models and big data to assess the performance and sustainability of globally listed companies. Its investment technology processes over 100 billion data points to select an investment universe of equities with the aim of delivering superior returns, integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) information with quantitative strategies. In 2017, the firm launched Arabesque S-Ray™, a unique tool that allows anyone to monitor the sustainability of over 7,000 of the world’s largest corporations. Through machine learning and big data, Arabesque S-Ray™ systematically combines over 200 ESG metrics with news signals from over 50,000 sources across 15 languages. Arabesque was launched in 2013 following a management buyout from Barclays Bank, and was built in cooperation with professors from the universities of Stanford, Cambridge, Oxford, Maastricht, and the German Fraunhofer Society, in support of the United Nations Global Compact. Its partnership is dedicated to taking sustainability into the mainstream by using finance as a catalyst for change, for the benefit of all. Georg started his career as a research fellow in engineering at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and Innovation in Berlin. He then worked as a financial analyst in various countries in Africa and Asia before joining the United Nations in 1987. A native of Germany, he holds advanced degrees in economics and engineering from the Technical University of Berlin.

Panel Discussion: Europe & Africa – How does this Partnership make use of the 27 x 55 Opportunities sustainably

Europe, soon with only 27 member states, faces an ever-increasingly networked world; its politics and economy constantly growing in complexity. Just a few kilometers south of Europe, Africa extends over 55 highly diverse states, covers an area that is bigger than the USA, China, India, Japan and Europe together, and will double its population to […]

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