Elizabeth H. Small
Elizabeth Small is General Counsel of CDP North America, Inc. the global data and disclosure platform, focusing investors, companies, and governments on building a sustainable economy by measuring and understanding environmental impacts.
A thought-leader on ESG, Climate Change and Environmental Justice, Elizabeth leads on legal and strategic business matters, advices C-Suite executives, boards of directors, and oversees CDP’s annual investor request, the CDP Supply Chain program, CDP policy, Cities, States, and Regions (CStaR) including the CDP-Matchmaker climate resilient infrastructure program, data and technology operations; the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) partnership; and serves on the Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Accessibility (JEDIA) global task force. She is also an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University, where she teaches and writes about Bioethics.
Prior to CDP, Elizabeth worked as a Global Litigator with Howrey LLP and with Hemenway & Barnes, focusing on complex commercial litigation, antitrust and intellectual property law. Elizabeth has a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law, where she trained in the International Sustainable Development program in London, Paris and Geneva. Elizabeth also holds a B.A. in Philosophy from The College of the Holy Cross.
What makes you a Risky Woman?
Elizabeth is a leader in the movement acknowledging that climate risk is risk. What gets measured gets managed, and Elizabeth has championed ESG disclosure, which is now a business norm, bringing capital to the table and propelling the low-carbon transition – leading to the mainstreaming of environmental disclosure.
CDP has enabled disclosures that have led to a vast, standardized and comparable global dataset covering over half of the world’s market capitalization. In 2021, CDP saw record disclosures, with over 14,000 organizations disclosing data on climate change, water security and deforestation issues. This covers over 13,000 companies worth over 64% of global market capitalization, including SMEs supplying some of the world’s biggest corporations.
Name your top 3 achievements
- Mothering two brilliant and fierce daughters (may we raise strong women and be strong enough to rise them) - including passing the bar exam while working and raising two kids under 3.
- Being the first woman in my family to earn a terminal degree.
- Giving every breath to ensuring we have the data and tools we need to solve the climate crisis - for people and planet.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
Moving from global litigation to a global NGO.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I couldn’t live without music.
What is the best quality for successful leaders in Risk?