top of page


An environmentally sustainable and socially accountable approach to finance​

By Sam Charles on June 12, 2023


New research from The University of British Columbia in collaboration with Environmentally Sustainable and Socially Accountable Finance (ESSAFIN) paves the way to incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values into investment decision-making.

More and more companies around the globe are adopting a sustainable approach to how they conduct business. As a starting point, many companies have turned to ESG metrics as a way to evaluate where they are and where they would like to go.

Over the past year, UBC Okanagan researchers have been evaluating and analyzing ESSAFIN’s ESG risk analysis software application. The software assesses and categorizes ESG criteria and risks associated with projects and investments.

“It isn’t a standard operating procedure to open up your company’s inner workings to be picked apart by subject matter experts, but we felt confident that we had put the work in and that our ESG risk analysis methodology was sound,” says Dr. Darren Brown, the founder and CEO of ESSAFIN.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr. Haroon R. Mian, under the supervision of Drs. Sadiq and Hewage from the Life Cycle Management Laboratory (LCML) at UBC Okanagan comprehensively reviewed global ESG practices and standards, completed a forensic assessment of the ESSAFIN algorithm and decision tree matrix, and conducted an expert survey to weigh various ESG pillars and criteria.

The overarching finding of the year-long study showed that the ESSAFIN Logic ESG risk analysis tool strongly aligns with globally accepted ESG policies, practices, and expert opinions. The study validated the ESSAFIN algorithm in its current state.

“On behalf of our team at ESSAFIN, we are pleased to see our ESG risk analysis tool was substantiated by the gifted researchers and scientists of the LCML,” says Dr. Brown. “We very much appreciate the professionalism and responsiveness of Dr. Mian and the team at the LCML to carry out this research in a manner that respected business-confidential information and set aside time to understand the DNA of our company. We look forward to establishing the LCML as our R&D hub.”

The LCML report titled “Incorporating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Criteria into investment decision-making: Advancing the Normalization of ESG performance characterization” can be reviewed by clicking the button above.







ESSAFIN has opened its European office in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Bikes at Amsterdam Canal



There is an incredible opportunity in the financial sector to effect positive change. ESG offers the perfect mechanism to do just that.

My education provides the foundation of knowledge in ecology, environmental science, and life cycle impact assessment. Given the emphasis on the environmental component of ESG, this technical knowledge was instrumental in developing the first iteration of the algorithm for the ESSAFIN Logic SAAS ESG risk analysis tool. My 20+ years of professional experience across multiple sectors integrates the real-world practicality of this environmental education and expands the bandwidth to include societal implications.

Q: In your words, why would a client be drawn to ESSAFIN who may not know about the benefits of ESG?

A: In spite of what some purported ESG specialists say, ESG is not complicated and no organization should be intimidated by it. Many companies already have excellent business practices that support environmental sustainability and social accountability, they just aren’t capturing it. What ESSAFIN offers is insight on how to incorporate ESG values to maximize effectiveness and minimize disruption.

Q: What energizes you, and why?

A: Finding a path forward when faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. It is the thrill seekers’ equivalent for people in science.

Q: What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?

A: Doggedness. I would say perseverance, but that strikes me as a word reserved for someone that has 95% of the attributes required for a particular success and just needs to dig in a little. I would say doggedness generates success because it forces you to be open (yes, forces is used intentionally to denote it is not a natural condition), you have to be willing to learn, and you won’t be giving up.

Q: Upon reflection, list/name the top 3 people/experiences that has had the greatest influence on who you are today?

A: a. Being the son of a preacher

    b. Playing rugby

    c. Travelling around the world

Q: What words of wisdom would you express to your twenty year old self knowing what you know now?

A: Ignore people who limit themselves, including yourself. Immerse yourself in a culture of possibility. And, always remember that the space between the fear of inadequacy and the cool confidence of competency is razor-thin.

Q: What’s something that has surprised you about your chosen career path? Why?

A: I had no idea how big the field of environment was or where it could take me. When I spoke to field scientists, they either worked with fish or less commonly terrestrial wildlife. Thinking back, most of my early career was focused on risk assessment and toxicology related to effect of contaminants on human and wildlife species health. A few years back I was developing energy and carbon policy for an industrial sector. Now with ESSAFIN, I’m helping companies to incorporate ESG values and assessing ESG risk. Who knows what tomorrow may bring.

Follow Darren and ESSAFIN here and on our other social media platforms, @essafin_ on Twitter & Instagram to stay up to date for all things ESG.

Q: What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of? WHY?

A: There are a few that come to mind that give me a sense of satisfaction, but I’m not wired that way. What I can do in the future is all that matters. Perhaps ask me this question if I ever retire.

Last question: STAR Wars or Star Trek? Why?

A: That’s a tough one. I love science fiction as a genre. But, if push came to shove I’d have to say Star Trek. While Star Wars highlights the struggle between good and evil in a direct way, Star Trek focuses on the evolution of human behavior into one of openness, acceptance, and the pursuit of higher ideals.



As the global commitment to ESG investment and accountability increases, so to does the pressure on governments, companies and financial firms to adapt to meet that commitment.

Our team recognizes that not every firm has the "boots on the ground" experience that we do. Therefore, we are excited to launch our new ESSAFIN Consulting Services line.

As our mission statement illustrates, we are dedicated to helping every organization committed to embedding ESG mandates into their day-to-day operations.

What if we have the ESG solutions that your firm has been searching for?

Call us. Let's find out together.




We are excited to announce ESSAFIN has a new look. We have officially launched our new website now featuring Global ESG current events, ESSAFIN's new consulting services line and a more interactive platform where we can connect with you via live chat.

Check out our website, get to know us, you'll be glad you did.

Team Discussion



  1. ESSAFIN Logic is a user friendly software that builds on the Equator Principles and considers the Principles For Responsible Investment, IFC’s 8 Performance Standards, the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Life Cycle Thinking and Waste Hierarchy.

  2. ESSAFIN Logic’s framework rewards organizations for existing excellence in environmental and social performance and for carrying out independent concept level analysis to mimics and/or avoid harmful impacts to the environment and society.

  3. ESSAFIN Logic can be applied when financing projects or processes in both emerging markets and developed markets. This is especially important in jurisdictions with little no regulatory framework to protect environmental and social values.

  4. ESSFIN Logic not only characterizes an ESG risk ranking for a proposed project or process, but, identifies higher risk areas and provides practical recommendations to address these risks.

Modern Office
bottom of page