MaryKate Bullen leads FIA’s sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs, working across the business to identify opportunities to preserve and create value for FIA and throughout its clients’ portfolios. In her role, she chairs the company’s cross-functional ESG Committee, providing leadership across the organization with respect to sustainability and ESG opportunities. With more than a decade in forestland investment experience, MaryKate’s career has focused on development and implementation of innovative approaches to sustainable investment in forestry, carbon markets, and conservation. Our clients benefit from her significant expertise in responsible investment policy, implementation, and managing forestland investments for economic, environmental, and social benefits. Her investment and project experience spans North America, Australasia, Southeast Asia, and South America.
In addition to her work with FIA, MaryKate is an active participant in industry developments for responsible investment in forestry and natural climate solutions, including serving on working groups and advisory roles related to carbon accounting, impact measurement, and private markets responsible investment. She is a current member of the advisory councils of the Women’s Forest Congress and the Social License Platform.
Prior to joining FIA, MaryKate led the responsible investment program for forestry investment manager, New Forests, ultimately overseeing ESG for more than two million acres of investments in developed and emerging markets. In this role, she had oversight for the company’s corporate sustainability, responsible investment, and impact initiatives. She also led corporate communications and media relations across global operations. In earlier roles, MaryKate developed and managed New Forests’ corporate research program, producing policy analyses and market outlooks on key features of the timberland and environmental markets asset classes.
What is your business philosophy?
As asset managers, we can preserve and create more value by considering the environment and society in our decision-making. The formalization of ESG within forestry investment is a natural fit between the stewardship ethic of our industry and the growing aspiration of institutional investors to ensure their investment portfolios align with a sustainable future.
Why did you choose this field / career path?
In my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to spend two summer seasons conducting field research in the Peruvian Amazon. I fell in love with the rainforest during those summers, but I also learned firsthand how vital a long-term management plan and financial drivers for managing forests can be to safeguard our natural resources and natural places. This led me into environmental markets, where ecosystem services are valued in financial terms, and progressively into all facets of forestry investment and conservation markets.
What is one of the best lessons you’ve learned during your career?
Wherever you find a risk, always look for an opportunity.