Talking climate change & investing with The Nature Conservancy’s CEO
“Think about your own portfolio. You ought to be looking for investment opportunities that address climate change,” said Mark Tercek, CEO of the Nature Conservancy.
The above point was just one strong statement Mark made during a conversation we recently had at the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center as part of San Francisco’s Global Climate Action Summit. I’ve been following Mark’s work as the leader of the Nature Conservancy for some time, and was especially excited about the opportunity to interview him as part of the week’s events.
If you’re not familiar, the Nature Conservancy is one of the largest environmental groups in the country with a membership more than a million strong. The group works in all 50 U.S. states as well as globally, and leverages partnerships with individuals, communities, businesses and government agencies to realize environmental goals. Some of its most eye-catching achievements include the protection of nearly 120 million acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers around the world.
Mark’s investment advice carries weight not only because it comes from the CEO of a highly trusted environmental non-profit, but from a seasoned and successful Wall Street veteran, too. Prior to the Nature Conservancy, he spent 24 years as an investment banker, heading up groups in corporate finance, real estate, and equity.
He’s as good a candidate as any to know a good investment when he sees one, and in our conversation he highlighted how investors must look into the future with a risk assessment lens to see the wisdom of making investments aimed at reducing global warming. Investors must push companies and governments to make commitments to environmental goals, he said, noting that they will listen to “smart investors.”
The Summit itself served as a grand stage for a large number of private and public sector announcements designed to help keep global warming below levels outlined in 2015 Paris Agreement. California Governor Jerry Brown kicked the week off with an executive order to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the world’s fifth-largest economy by pledging the state to 100% renewable energy by 2045.
For our part, we were extremely excited to announce our $1 billion pledge to finance energy transition as we continue to focus on high-impact investments with long-term yield potential. I look forward to sharing more news and updates about these projects and our other CSR commitments in the future.
Thanks, Mark, for joining Bank of the West at the Global Climate Action Summit.