Research Scholar, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights
New York University
Location: New York, NY
Internal Number: 94334
The NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights is seeking a Research Scholar to lead its work on how investors can use their financial muscle to promote human rights. In recent years, vastly increasing assets—nearly $38 trillion worldwide by the end of 2020—have flowed into funds that say that when making investment decisions, they weigh companies' performance on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Through its research and advocacy, the Center seeks to help ensure that hugely popular ESG investment strategies accomplish what they promise.
The Research Scholar will build on our ongoing efforts to strengthen the social component of ESG investing, which ought to pressure major corporations to improve practices affecting labor and other human rights. While progress has been made on ESG's environmental and governance dimensions, our analysis has demonstrated that the social element remains amorphous and inadequate. The person who assumes this position will play a leading role in charting an ambitious path toward improved ESG investing.
We have established a strong foundation for this activity. In a 2017 report, we demonstrated that existing ESG assessments of social performance focus on corporate aspirations rather than concrete accomplishments in protecting workers and society at large. They also cover a very wide range of "social" topics, making it difficult to differentiate performance among companies. This year, we will publish a second report that proposes that investors embrace the challenge of widening income inequality as a framework for the "S," much as climate change has become a useful focus for the environmental prong of ESG. More specifically, we point out the role that outsourcing has played in the rise of inequality in advanced economies and the persistence of exploitative, low-quality jobs around the world. To provide practical guidance to ESG investors and asset managers, we have begun to build a set of pilot metrics they can use to determine whether companies are exacerbating or easing inequality and worker mistreatment.
The Research Scholar will assume responsibility for testing and refining our preliminary metrics, as well as identifying new opportunities to strengthen ESG investors' understanding of, and engagement with, social issues. In each area where we work, we undertake cutting-edge research which identifies root causes of persistent human rights challenges and makes a series of realistic, but ambitious recommendations. The Senior Program Manager will lead our efforts to work with investors, standard-setters, and regulators to turn these recommendations into concrete action.
About the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights
Founded in March 2013, the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights is the first-ever human rights center based at a business school. Our mission is to challenge and empower companies and future business leaders to make practical progress on human rights. Our current focus areas include manufacturing, construction, internet technology, and investment. We are looking for a creative and ambitious leader who is passionate about these issues to join our team.
Advanced degree required (MBA, JD, LLM, Masters or PhD in finance, economics, accounting, or management preferred).
A minimum of five years of work experience. This might include work in the asset management sector or research relating to its functioning, working on labor markets, sustainable investing or on other business and human rights issues for a think tank, university, or advocacy organization. Journalists who have covered these topics are also encouraged to apply.
Familiarity with the human rights challenges related to low-wage work in domestic and global outsourcing and/or gig work.
Experience managing and completing complex, sensitive projects with multiple stakeholders.
Excellent writing skills are a prerequisite. Ability to produce detailed reports, articles and op-ed pieces based on rigorous, analytical research that are accessible to business, government, civil society, and the media.
Excellent verbal communication skills. Ability to represent program research in public forums, including media interviews and expert panels.
Understanding of economic and statistical modeling and experience building and maintaining investment models also would be preferred.
Demonstrated ability to cultivate and maintain strong working relationships with people from different backgrounds.
A self-starter with the ability to adapt quickly and motivate others to achieve strategic objectives in a collaborative manner.
Identify and undertake new areas for research to strengthen investors assessment of the S in ESG frameworks including, particularly related to low-wage job quality.
Build and maintain a network of contacts with institutional asset managers and asset owners and within the field of ESG investing and business and human rights.
Represent the Center and increase its public profile with respect to these issues in the media through op-eds, regular social media engagement, and interviews with journalists.
Develop, test, and promote new metrics and approaches to assess social performance.
Represent the Center in various public forums. Organize and manage public and closed-door meetings including representatives from business, civil society, and government to promote current and future recommendations.
Contribute to other ongoing projects and to the broader strategy at the Center.
Oversee research fellows as needed.
The Center for Business and Human Rights is based at NYU Stern's Washington Square campus in New York City.
To apply, please submit a resume, short cover letter and two letters of reference.
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