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Success Story: Mitchell Laferriere ’18 earns Sustainability Accounting Standards Board certification

Success Stories | May 04, 2017 |

There’s a lot of talk about “sustainability” in business, but when it comes to making real changes, action is key.

A Gabelli School junior is taking that action.

Mitchell Laferriere, BS ’18, recently received his Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Level 1 certification.

SASB is a nonprofit that develops sustainability accounting standards to help public corporations “disclose material, decision-useful information to investors.”

With his SASB certification, Laferriere can show employers that he has the ability to identify possible environmental, social, and governance issues within firms and make recommendations for improvement.

For example, Laferriere says he might look at a company’s current board and recommend an increase in the number of women on that board, which would, as studies have shown, create “a more efficient firm and a more innovative firm, which increases the long-term value and decreases the risk.”

Laferriere first became interested in sustainability issues during his freshman year in the Gabelli School Ground Floor course. He then spent two months in Singapore at the Lien Centre of Social Innovation, affiliated with Singapore Management University. While investigating how the center uses innovation to address social needs, with the goal of bringing some of these initiatives back to Fordham, he learned about SASB.

After an intensive study period, Laferriere took the examination that led to passing the Level I exam.

What’s next for Laferriere? He’ll be studying for Level II of the certification, which focuses on cases, applications, and analysis. He’s also working on ideas for increasing the focus on sustainability issues in Fordham University’s curriculum.

The first student at Fordham to receive the SASB certification, Laferriere says he hopes others will apply for their certifications as well. “Anyone trying to get into asset management or private equity” can benefit from it, he stresses.

That’s because when it comes to making a difference in business, it’s not just about money. In fact, Laferriere notes, “84 percent of a balance sheet is intangible.” So environmental, social, and governance issues play an increasingly important role in a company’s success.

“A lot of people forget that’s a critical part,” Laferriere says.

But he’s prepared to remind them.

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