Bio


Soh Young In is the Sustainable Finance Lead at the Stanford Global Projects Center (GPC). She is also leading research on Financial Innovation at the Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFI) of the Precourt Institute for Energy. Her research interest is to align the financial system with a low-carbon economy, and to catalyze sustainable finance. Her research supports investors, entrepreneurs and policymakers to drive positive social and environmental impact alongside financial results. At Stanford, she focuses on the explicit and systematic inclusion of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues in investment analysis and decision makings. Her research agenda includes: (1) clarifying risk-return opportunities of incorporating ESG factors (at various asset levels including global, country, sector, firm), (2) enhancing ESG data, risk metrics and management, and (3) creating a clean energy investment ecosystem. Her research leverages an interdisciplinary approach that combines engineering, finance, economic and policy aspects of sustainability, so as to effectively address the pressing, complex global problem of climate change.

Soh Young won a research award from the United Nation Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the US Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Award by the US Department of Energy (US DOE). Her project on an innovative clean energy investment platform design received grants from the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, Bank of America, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the US DOE. Her work has also received extensive media coverage such as Stanford Engineering Magazine, WIRED Magazine, Indexology by S&P Dow Jones and Sustainable Insight Capital Management, and been invited by multiple academic and industry communities. Soh Young completed her PhD in the Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, MA in International Policy Studies at Stanford, concentrating in Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, and BA in Economics and Statistics from Columbia University.

Academic Appointments


  • Engr Res Assoc, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Honors & Awards


  • Emerging Scholar Award, International Conference on Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Common Ground Research Networks (2018)
  • Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Poster Awards (2nd Place), Department of Energy, MIT Energy Initiative and Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy (2017)
  • Fellowship, Behavior, Energy & Climate Change, Stanford Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI) (2017)
  • Seed Research Grants (Two Academic Years), Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy (2017)
  • Research Grants on “Clean Energy Finance”, Bank of America and Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy (2017)
  • Research Award on “Aligning Investment Portfolios with a Low Carbon Economy”, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Financial Initiative (2016)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Financial Innovation Lead, Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University (2019 - Present)
  • Sustainable Finance Lead, Global Project Center, Stanford Univerisity (2019 - Present)

Professional Education


  • PhD, Stanford University, Civil and Environmental Engineering (2019)
  • M.A., Stanford University, International Policy Studies (Academic Concentration: Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources) (2015)
  • B.A., Columbia University, Economics (major), Statistics (minor) (2008)

Service, Volunteer and Community Work


  • Editor, Stanford Energy Journal, Stanford Energy Club

    Location

    Stanford

  • Organizing Committee, Engineering Project Organization Society (EPOS) Early Career Forum

    Location

    global

  • Founding Member, Community of Practice in Export Credit Agencies

    Location

    USA

  • Volunteered Instructor in Economics, Junior Achievement Korea

    Location

    South Korea

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


My research encompasses engineering, economics and public policy. It focuses on clean energy finance and entrepreneurship. My current research projects (1) investigate clean investment performance in the capital market; (2) analyze networks between investors and entrepreneurs; and (3) aim to create an innovative investment vehicle for clean technology startups. My ultimate aim is to catalyze private capital in clean energy so that the world can transition more rapidly to a low-carbon economy.

My latest research on “Is “Being Green” Rewarded in the Market?: An Empirical Investigation of Decarbonization and Stock Returns” won a research award from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Financial Initiative, Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition, the Sovereign Wealth Fund Research Initiative and Trucost (S&P Dow Jones Indices). My co-authors and I provide viable information for investors, who increasingly prioritize climate finance and look for investment opportunities that offer high returns with high environmental impact. We analyze 74,486 observations of U.S. firms’ public stocks from 2005 to 2015 using portfolio analysis and asset pricing models, and empirically examine the relationship among firm-level carbon intensity, stock returns, and firm characteristics. We find that such investment opportunities do exist and are even common, indicating that investing in carbon-efficient firms can be profitable even without government incentives.

My current research projects, jointly under the theme of “An Integrated Control Tower: Unlocking Long-Term Investment Capital for Clean Energy Innovation,” won research grants for next 2 years from Bank of America, Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Government of Canada. In the first paper, I define all relevant actors (investors, entrepreneurs, and various institutions) in clean energy and evaluate their network patterns using network analysis and organizational design. Based on this paper, I propose a follow-up study that develops a blueprint of a new investment intermediary that could achieve high investment returns through a multi-strategy vehicle that better aligns risks with investors. The objective of these combined projects is to mobilize large-scale sustainable capital investments for the clean energy industry.

All Publications


  • Integrating Alternative Data (Also Known as ESG Data) in Investment Decision Making GLOBAL ECONOMIC REVIEW In, S., Rook, D., Monk, A. 2019
  • Financing Energy Innovation: New Roles and Functions of Intermediation in Clean Energy In, S., Monk, A. H. Stanford University. 2018 ; Stanford Global Projects Center Working Paper

    Abstract

    While consistent and long-term sources of investment capital are needed to flourish the clean energy ecosystem, current financial intermediaries have failed to effectively channel sources of funding to entrepreneurs. This study examines whether the traditional theory adequately addresses the institutional barriers that exist in the clean energy investment market, and refine roles and functions of intermediation in fostering the transition to a low-carbon economy. We review recent developments in intermediation theories, and conduct multiple case studies to explore new forms of financial intermediation with a view of the practice. As a result, we find that investment opportunities (and risks) are not effectively assigned to the appropriate investors due to the fragmented nature of investor networks and the large information asymmetries among different investor categories and companies. Yet, there are no (or very few) investment vehicles today that take these barriers into consideration. Therefore, we propose three functions that are critical to effectively intermediate a broad range of investors in clean energy and facilitate an intelligent information flow over the entire clean energy development cycle: (1) an anchor that offers nominal amounts of priming capital that can, in some cases, take a first-loss position; (2) a balanced barbell that enables to raise capital, at-scale, from various funding sources and provides equity and debt capital to companies maturing commercially; and (3) a boundary spanner that provides reliable and objective information about clean energy companies or projects in a highly transparent and trustworthy manner. This study concludes by proposing a new coordinating platform design, a multistrategy vehicle that simultaneously coordinates three core intermediary functions.

  • Governing Blended Finance An Institutional Investor Perspective Halland, H., Dixon, A. D., In, S., Monk, A. H., Sharma, R. Stanford Univeristy. 2018 ; Stanford Global Projects Center Working Paper

    Abstract

    Financing from institutional investors will be critical to achieving the sustainable development goals and curbing climate change. However, these large investors have been largely absent from multilateral blended finance initiatives. Partly as a result, such initiatives have been unable to reach the scale required for development finance to go “from billions to trillions”. Successful mobilization of private capital - including from institutional investors – has instead frequently taken place at the local level, by strategic investment funds and some green banks. This is likely due to advantages of being a local investor, including risk assessment, networks and “boots on the ground”; as well as the design of mandates, structure, governance, and staffing. At the same time, some institutional investors have been changing their modus operandi, from an intermediary to a collaborative model, and are re-localizing their operations. The elimination of financial intermediaries with a short-term focus removes a bottleneck between two categories of long-term investors – institutional investors and multilateral finance institutions, and opens new opportunities for collaboration. To take advantage of such opportunities, multilateral finance institutions will likely need to deepen their integration with the collaborative model and work closely with successful strategic investment funds and green banks.

  • A Decision Framework for Successful Private Participation in the Airport Sector Journal of Air Transport Management In, S., Casemiro, L., Kim, J. 2017; 62: 217-225
  • Applying Relational Governance to Private Investment in Public Infrastructure In, S., Sharma, R., Monk, A. Global Project Center at Stanford University. 2017 ; Working Paper
  • Is 'Being Green' Rewarded in the Market? An Empirical Investigation of Decarbonization Risk and Stock Returns Energy Forum In, S., Park, K., Monk, A. 2017: 46-48
  • Application of Relational Governance in Infrastructure Privatization The Engineering Project Organization Conference (EPOC) held in conjunction with the 5th International Megaprojects Workshop: Theory meets Practice In, S., Sharma, R., Monk, A. 2017
  • Decision Framework for Private Participation in Airport Development: The Case of Incheon International Airport in South Korea Engineering Project Organization Conference (EPOC) In, S., Casemiro, L., Kim, J. 2016
  • Global Urbanization Trend and Challenges Facing Mature Mid-Size Cities: The Case of Busan, South Korea Kin, J., Singham, S., In, S., Bennon, M. Global Project Center at Stanford University. Stanford, USA. 2015 ; Working Paper
  • Models for Engaging Public-Private Partnerships – A Case of Having Your Cake and Eating It Too? Engineering Project Organization Conference (EPOC) Bridge, A., In, S., Rowlinson, S. 2015
  • Do Export Credit Agencies Benefit the Economy Stanford International Policy Review In, S. 2014