Professor in the Practice, Co-Director of the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale; Director of the Research Program on Private Investment and the Environment
Mr. Gentry's research is focused on the links between financial and environmental performance, and the tools that can be used to attract–or drive–more investment into better performance. The legal aspects of these issues are the starting point for his work – whether they are agreed by investors (contracts) or imposed by governments (statutes, regulations, common law, treaties). Incorporating these legal tools into integrated frameworks for analyzing and managing the scientific, business, and policy issues facing the coupled human and natural systems on which the world’s economy depends–including land, water, energy and climate–is where most of his work is focused.
Four major types of legal tools are being applied to attract or drive private investment into improved environmental performance: enhancing the information going to investors, either through market or government-driven requirements (corporate reporting, product certification, etc.); overcoming barriers to the introduction of cleaner or more efficient technologies and approaches (monopoly network regulation, removing perverse subsidies or standards); making the polluter pay, by internalizing otherwise externalized costs of resource use (liability rules, command & control regulation, taxes); or paying the innovator, by internalizing the public benefits provided by their efforts (subsidies, tradable rights).
Working with collaborators around the world, the core of Mr. Gentry's research is exploring how these tools can be used, both in case studies–across investors, sectors and locations–and through application of lessons learned, including in the following areas: Emerging markets for ecosystem services–understanding the scientific, business and policy aspects of efforts to expand the markets for watershed protection, health improvement, carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation services. Improving urban ecosystem services through partnerships–collecting, analyzing and distilling lessons learned from efforts to use public-private partnerships to improve the delivery of urban environmental services, including the design of an analytical framework for building partnerships in any sector or context. Financing the response to climate change – collecting data on and informing policy initiatives to help tap and expand the mix of private and public “pots of money” being used to finance climate mitigation and adaptation.