Nicole Martens currently occupies the position of Head of Africa & Middle East for the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). In this role, she is responsible for strengthening existing and developing new relationships with stakeholders in the investment space and for designing an Africa-focused strategy for identifying and addressing the needs of African investors with respect to integrating ESG into investment processes.
Prior to PRI, Nicole worked on multiple projects across numerous levels in the field of ESG and RI research and advisory. Her experience in this field includes the provision of research support on the IFC’s Sustainable Returns project (A Guide for Pension Funds in South Africa), co-creation and implementation of the Southern African Impact Investing Network (SAIIN) Conference (including presentation at that conference on ESG and Regulation 28), and work on the potential developmental impact of pension funds in South Africa. Nicole has also advised corporates and financial services providers on their respective impact strategies and has conducted multiple ESG due diligence assessments and developed Social and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) for clients operating across the continent. In addition, she has experience in the field of innovative development financing, having worked closely with the South African National Treasury and the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship on initial investigations into the potential merit of Social Impact Bonds in furthering the country’s development agenda.
Nicole is a Development Economist by training, with her career to date dedicated to the provision of strategic advisory services in the development space. She has worked with local and international clients across the public and private sector on the design and implementation of strategies aimed at achieving large-scale developmental impact in Africa. Her experience includes work around social and environmental due diligence and strategy, shared value strategy development, stakeholder engagement strategy development, dialogue facilitation, and political economy and policy analysis, with a special interest in responsible investment, impact investing and innovative social finance mechanisms.