The Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce recently featured UAlbany’s new High Peaks Impact Award on August 17, 2021:

The University at Albany School of Business is seeking applications for their newly-created High Peaks Impact Awards. The award aims to highlight a capital-region business that promotes environment, social and governance strategies, a release from the group says.

Their inaugural awards ceremony will occur Oct. 15. The symposium for the award will include keynote speaker Daniel Esty, the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University, the release says.

Nominations are due Sept. 14. Those who wish to nominate a business are encouraged to call Jennifer North in the business school’s office, 518-956-8370.

“It’s the first year, it’s kind of like the maiden voyage of this award,” said Tony DeFazio in an interview today. DeFazio runs SustainablePR and has been the public relations representative for the award. [He is also an advertiser with]

“The timeline was condensed, but in subsequent years, the sponsors plan to expand the geography—basically to go farther upstate—and there’ll be a bigger window for applications,” he said.

The symposium, A Community Celebration of ESG, will include speakers, panel discussions and networking opportunities with information on ESG, including socially and environmentally responsible investing, regulatory actions and guidelines, and reporting metrics, the release says. It will be held at the Massry Center for Business and is co-sponsored by the School of Business and the New York State Writers Institute.

“It was over a year, it was a long, long time” to put the awards together, said Amy Ryan of ESG Strategies. She was integral in creating the award.

She said more than a half dozen businesses that already practice ESG were involved, as was the UAlbany business school and the college’s Center for the Advancement and Understanding of Social Enterprises.

“They embraced the idea,” Ryan said. “These businesses were key components and a big part of this whole process.”

In the statement, Nilanjan Sen, dean of the School of Business said, “UAlbany School of Business is honored to host the ESG symposium and launch the High Peaks Impact Awards, designed to recognize a commitment to socially responsible business practices.”

From the press release:

  • HPIA nominees should be businesses in the greater Capital Region that demonstrate examples of internal or external environmental sustainability, social responsibility and governance initiatives. The nominees should be actively involved in many of the following ESG criteria:
  • Environment: Efficient or renewable energy use; resource sourcing, use, waste and disposal; hazardous materials management; or other methods of reducing carbon footprint.
  • Social: Employee, consumer and community engagement that engenders loyal workers and customers; personnel policies that offer meaningful work and demonstrate a commitment to racial justice, human rights and economic disparities; concern for health, safety and wellbeing; customer privacy and welfare; fair advertising, disclosure, labeling; and product/service lifecycle impacts including quality and safety.
  • Governance: A recognized commitment to transparency, such as oversight and compliance to ethical decisions and competitive behavior; accounting audits and complete disclosure; composition of the Board of Directors, committee structure and executive pay; and community commitment to the arts and humanities, culture, civil rights, education, health and poverty, and volunteerism.