Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

What is Sustainable Infrastructure? Building Consensus to Accelerate Financing

Date and Time
Wednesday, March 20, 2024 - 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Duke in DC, 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC and Virtual via Zoom
Philip Hollingsworth
What is Sustainable Infrastructure? Building Consensus to Accelerate Financing


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Public- and private-sector investors are seeking to advance sustainable, quality infrastructure to improve economic productivity, transition to a low-carbon economy, promote social wellbeing, and build climate resilience.

Yet most new infrastructure isn’t fulfilling these goals. The disconnect often comes down to a lack of consensus on how to identify sustainable and resilient infrastructure projects and their benefits. Numerous global initiatives are competing to define these characteristics—leading to a confusing landscape for financiers and developers alike.

During this panel discussion, experts will examine the merits, challenges, and opportunities related to different approaches to spur investment and construction of sustainable, quality infrastructure. Panelists will aim to identify opportunities and challenges to advance the global adoption of sustainability standards, indices, and policies that mobilize public and private finance. 

Russell Singer (U.S. Department of State), Cristina Contreras (Sinfranova), Anthony Kane (Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure), William Phillips (Mott MacDonald), and Pratima Singh (Economist Impact) will provide insights on approaches such as Blue Dot Network, Envision, Infrastructure for Good, and others. Elizabeth Losos (Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, Duke University) will moderate the panel.

Advance registration is required for in-person attendance and for livestreaming. In-person attendees are invited to join for continental breakfast and networking starting at 8:15 a.m. ET and for a post-panel networking reception at 10:30 - 11 a.m. ET.  

About the Organizers and Event Series

This event is part of Sustainable Infrastructure: A Duke Climate Collaboration Symposium, taking place March 20-22 in Washington, DC, and Durham, North Carolina. This symposium is organized by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability and Pratt School of Engineering in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure, and World Wildlife Fund.

The three-day symposium is the second of the Duke Climate Collaboration Symposia, a series of convenings designed to accelerate climate solutions by developing new collaborations among Duke scholars and external partners. Each symposium focuses on identifying opportunities for Duke University to make the most of its interdisciplinary expertise and convening power for meaningful impact on climate challenges. The series is funded by a gift from The Duke Endowment in support of the Duke Climate Commitment, which unites the university’s education, research, operations, and public service missions to address the climate crisis.

Additional support for the ISLe Initiative is provided by the Schmidt Initiative for Long Covid.


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Cristina Contreras CasadoCristina Contreras

Cristina Contreras Casado is the founder and CEO of Sinfranova LLC and instructor at Harvard University. During her more than seventeen years of experience, she has contributed to developing tools and frameworks to quantify sustainability in infrastructure projects in more than 12 countries. In addition, Contreras regularly collaborates with international institutions such as the World Bank and the United Nations, helping integrate sustainability solutions in infrastructure projects and public policy.


Anthony KaneAnthony Kane 
Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure

Anthony Kane is president and CEO of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure in Washington, DC where he oversees the organization’s overall operations and leads the development of the Envision framework for sustainable infrastructure. Kane also sits as a commissioner on the Washington, DC Commission on Climate Change and Resiliency.


Elizabeth Losos

Elizabeth Losos (moderator)
Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability

Elizabeth Losos is an executive in residence at the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability at Duke University. She explores policies and programs to improve climate, biodiversity, and social outcomes through infrastructure development in the transportation and energy sectors. Losos is working with partner organizations to launch the Infrastructure Sustainability Learners (ISLe) Initiative, a virtual peer-learning network aimed at building capacity for sustainable infrastructure development through information sharing and problem solving.  She formerly was president and CEO of the Organization for Tropical Studies and director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Tropical Forest Science.


William Phillips

William Phillips
Mott MacDonald

William Phillips, P.Eng, PMP, ENVSP, is an infrastructure procurement and sustainability/climate specialist with over 15 years of experience in advising, planning, and developing major projects. He has worked as a technical advisor in the P3 sector providing risk analysis to lenders, investors, and design builders. Phillips has also held lead sustainability roles for several billion-dollar transportation projects in New York, Boston, Toronto, and Los Angeles and was integral to the creation of the Physical Climate Risk Assessment Methodology (PCRAM). He currently leads Mott MacDonald’s Infrastructure Advisory Team in Toronto. Phillips holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from McGill University. 

Russell SingerRussell Singer
U.S. Department of State

Russell Singer serves as the infrastructure development unit chief in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Development Finance, working on U.S. efforts to assist countries in filling the infrastructure investment gap. Singer has worked as an economic officer in domestically and abroad during a 20-year career with the State Department. He most recently served as the energy and environment officer in the Office of Canadian Affairs, covering bilateral cooperation on critical minerals, the clean energy transition, and the Arctic. Singer also completed tours in Uzbekistan, Germany, Russia, Honduras, and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in NY.


Pratima SinghPratima Singh
Economist Impact

Pratima Singh is a Principal with Economist Impact’s Policy and Insights team in New York. She is an expert in sustainability, infrastructure, circular economym and natural resource management. Singh works with foundations, corporates, governments, and nonprofits seeking evidence-based analysis and policy recommendations. At Economist Impact, she leads several of the organization’s global programs including the Infrastructure for Good initiative.