As a long-term investor, we believe that accounting for ESG factors is fundamental to risk management and identifying opportunities for value addition, which can result in better-run more resilient companies and stronger financial returns over time.
ESG in the Investment Process
Having formally integrated ESG into our diligence process more than a decade ago, we are continuously striving to improve our approach to employing ESG best practices across our investment process. To this end, we have developed a comprehensive Environmental & Social Management System (“ESMS”) and ESG policy, and have devoted significant resources to expanding our ability to conduct due diligence, monitor, and report on ESG and impact metrics.
In developing the ESG policy and ESMS, we considered a range of codes and standards, including the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (“PRI”), the International Finance Corporation’ (“IFC”) Performance Standards, the Commonwealth Development Corporation (“CDC”) Code of Responsible Investing, and the Institutional Limited Partners Association (“ILPA”) guidelines.
We seek to avoid investments that pose high
Environmental, Social, Governance and Impact (“ESGI”) Committee
57 Stars ESGI Committee oversees ESG integration at both firm and portfolio levels and is a cross-functional team of senior professionals .
The ESGI committee is comprised of the following professionals:
Co-founder & Managing Director
Senior Vice President
Prior to joining 57 Stars, Mr. Balit gained operating experience with a Canadian apparel manufacturing company and was involved in leading the shift of the company’s production platform to Asia. Mr. Balit holds a BA in Economics from Colby College, and joined 57 Stars from Georgetown University, where he completed an MBA and an MS in Foreign Service. He is fluent in English and French.
Co-founder and Managing Director
Mr. Cowan co‐founded 57 Stars in 2005, and is a member of the firm’s Investment Committee.
Prior to 57 Stars, Mr. Cowan served at Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) as a Director in the Investment Funds Department, where he was responsible for structuring new funds, designing and implementing the program’s asset allocation plans, selecting managers, and overseeing a large portion of the USD 3.5 billion investment funds program. Mr. Cowan also helped design OPIC’s groundbreaking capital markets insurance product. Prior to his tenure at OPIC, Mr. Cowan was an attorney at Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles, and at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York. He has served as Adjunct Professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law, and as an advisor to the governments of Colombia and Canada with respect to developing private equity programs.
Mr. Cowan holds an AB in Political Science and Development Studies (magna cum laude and with honors) from Brown University and a JD from Harvard Law School. In addition to English, he has knowledge of Cantonese, Mandarin, French, and Spanish.
Senior Vice President
Prior to 57 Stars, Ms. Leytes was with Sarona Asset Management, an impact‐focused emerging markets fund manager, where she led investor relations and ESG and impact management efforts. Ms. Leytes also worked for the World Economic Forum as a Project Manager for Impact Investing and Blended Finance Initiatives. She began her career at Metropolitan Real Estate Equity Management, LLC (a Carlyle subsidiary), where she led portfolio analysis and reporting for the company’s funds.
Ms. Leytes holds a BA (magna cum laude) in Computer Science from New York University and an MA in Development Economics from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She speaks English, Russian, and Spanish.
Prior to joining 57 Stars, Mr. Toy served at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for seven years, where he was General Counsel and at different times Vice President managing the project finance and private equity programs, reorganizing and developing strategic plans for the two operating departments, each with exposure of over USD 3.5 billion in emerging markets. Before and after OPIC, Mr. Toy was a partner at two major international law firms, Kaye Scholer Fierman Hays & Handler, for which he opened Hong Kong and Beijing offices and was resident in Hong Kong for seven years, and Wilmer Cutler & Pickering in Washington. He represented clients investing and starting new businesses or operations throughout Asia and around the world.
Mr. Toy has taught on the subject of foreign direct investment as Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University. He earned a BA (cum laude) from Harvard College and a JD from Harvard Law School. Mr. Toy speaks English and Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese.