ESG Investing is the New Normal with Skye d’Almeida, Sr. VP in Macquarie’s Green Investment Group

Investors increasingly see infrastructure through a climate risk lens.

Skye d’Almeida is a Senior Vice President in Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, where she leads investor coverage for the Americas. Skye has spent the last 13 years working in sustainable infrastructure and energy for private, government and non-profit organizations. In her role at Macquarie, Skye manages relationships with pension funds, infrastructure funds, private equity funds and strategic investors looking to acquire green assets developed by the Green Investment Group. In prior roles, she co-created a sustainable infrastructure investment program for some of the world’s largest cities and worked for the Australian Government on international clean energy negotiations and renewables investment incentive programs.

On episode 139 of Bigger Than Us, Skye explains the jump in ESG investing in recent years and how the definition of infrastructure has evolved. She also walks us through her career path and shares a moonshot mindset for solving massive problems like climate change.

Take me to the podcast.

ESG Investing is the New Normal

Four years ago, when I was talking to investors about renewables, there was certainly appetite from some infrastructure investors. But I wouldn’t say it was widespread.

And it’s unbelievable to see the change just in the last four years and particularly in the last 12 months. The level of appetite to invest in green assets has just grown exponentially. It makes my job a little easier to some extent. I still have to work pretty hard to find the right partner or the right investor and at the right price.

What’s Changed

I think the definition of infrastructure has been changing. And I suspect that that will continue. Traditionally, infrastructure was the toll roads I mentioned, airports, large scale, power plants, utilities, and they had to really meet some pretty specific criteria around being natural monopolies or having some kind of barriers to entry so that you were satisfied that you had predictable revenue for 30–40 years and weren’t going to be undermined by other competition. So I think that’s certainly changed.

And you’re seeing some of the infrastructure funds and some of the pensions and sovereign wealth through their infrastructure allocations actually looking at businesses and assets that don’t necessarily have all of those features. So there’s a bit more flexibility around what they’re including in their infrastructure allocations or in their infrastructure funds. I think that’s going to continue.

Making Sustainable Infrastructure Investments Attractive

I think the key lesson for me has been, if you can make climate solutions look like infrastructure, there’s an abundance of private capital ready to invest. And when I say infrastructure, I’m talking about assets with long operational lives with very stable, predictable cash flows.

Boring is beautiful in the eyes of infrastructure investors.

You can think about a toll road where you have an availability payment from the government. And as the investor, you know, upfront, you have a 40-year contract with an investment grade counterparty, that tells you that if you provide an agreed level of service, you’ll get a pre-agreed level of payment every year for that 40 years. And pension funds and other infrastructure investors, they love those assets, and they’ll write those checks all day, every day. So if you can make your green asset or your climate solution as low risk and as boring as a toll road, you’ll have investors lining up to take it off your hands.

Boring is beautiful in the eyes of infrastructure investors. And I think that’s really why we’re seeing so much demand for long-term contracted renewables, you know, they’re not sexy, them, they’re pretty vanilla assets. And that’s really the goal, it’s to de-risk the assets as much as possible, and sell to low-risk, low-cost of capital investors like pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance funds, and core infrastructure investors.

But sometimes these vanilla low-risk infrastructure assets are rare in the green space, and it can be difficult to structure certain green assets in this way. The length of power purchase agreements is coming down over time, and investors are increasingly being asked to take merchant power risk, but also with newer technologies, there can be more uncertainty around the long-term performance of the assets, you know, what, what do revenues look like, in 15 years time? What’s the availability or the cost of inputs and so on.

So in some cases, it can be a little more challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible. And I think this is really where Macquarie excels, it’s finding ways to structure and de-risk new asset classes to make them look as much like infrastructure as possible.

The Role of Storage In Expanding Green Infrastructure

We’re seeing increasingly states and countries adopting ambitious green energy targets. Some of them, targeting 100% renewables 100% green by 2030, 2040, 2050. And storage is obviously a really key part of that, just to deal with the sort of variability and intermittency of renewables.

Storage is really a key piece if we’re to decarbonize our grid, and I’m personally very excited about finding ways to deploy more storage at scale.

I actually think there was a great piece of work done by Bloomberg NEF. I don’t know if you saw this one. This was back in I think, November last year. And they looked at the combination of solar and storage, and whether it could actually compete with gas. So both open cycle and combined cycle gas. And I thought what was very interesting about the analysis was that they actually found that utility-scale solar and storage is already a cost-competitive alternative to the majority of new gas peakers in the US. And they found that you can get to about 70–80% renewables with existing solar and storage technologies. And do so cost competitively. There’s obviously that other 20% that we need to think about, and I think there’s other technologies that are going to be important for that 20%.

Storage is really a key piece if we’re to decarbonize our grid, and I’m personally very excited about finding ways to deploy more storage at scale.

What’s Next for ESG Investing

ESG has already become extremely topical. And we’re seeing a couple of funds, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, infrastructure funds, making climate commitments, or raising dedicated pools of capital for renewables or other green solutions.

I’d be very surprised in 2030 if every one of the institutional investors doesn’t have some form of commitment or some form of dedicated capital focusing on ESG and climate solutions. There’s just already huge demand for assets, that tick those boxes in terms of ESG, and that’s going to grow. And I think the challenge on our side for the Green Investment Group and others like us is to keep up with that demand and to keep developing those assets that are low risk enough, and meet the fiduciary responsibilities of investors, but also meet all the ESG criteria that they’re adopting.

…from a risk management perspective, everyone should really be thinking about climate already.

My personal view is it’s just being prudent about risk management. If you’re not already thinking about climate, then I don’t think you’re effectively managing the risks of your assets under management and future assets that you intend to invest in.

And also, increasingly, there’s research suggesting that certain ESG actually has financial returns and certain ESG investments are outperforming traditional investments. So there’s the added advantage of potentially earning a higher return from ESG strategies. That’s not always the case. But at an absolute minimum, from a risk management perspective, everyone should really be thinking about climate already.


The Full Transcript

This transcript has been lightly edited.

Host Raj Daniels 03:08

If you were asked to share something interesting about yourself, what would it be?

Skye d’Almeida 03:14

I love to surf. And that in and of itself is probably not that interesting. But I guess the mildly interesting part is that I’ve set myself a challenge for 2021 to enter an amateur surf competition by the end of this year. And I’m doing it to raise money for two nonprofits along the way. So I’ve been surfing for about around nine years now. But five of them I spent in New York, and didn’t really get to surf much during that time. So haven’t really reached a level that I’m happy with. And so I decided this year to try to push myself to get to a level where I could actually participate in the competition and not make an absolute fool of myself, and also use it as a chance to raise money for two very worthy nonprofits that are close to my heart.

Host Raj Daniels 04:03

So when is the competition and please share some information regarding the nonprofits?

Skye d’Almeida 04:12

I’m trying to make it as late in the year as possible, because I need every every day that’s available to me to practice and get better. So yet to actually select the competition, I think it’s probably going to be around November or December this year. And I’m working with two nonprofits.

One is SurfAid who’s actually working with me to find the right competition and so surveyed there. They focus on health initiatives and remote communities. They’re an interesting one. They were founded 20 years ago. It was started by a doctor and a surfer who discovered really high mortality rates in remote communities near where he liked to surf, primarily in Indonesia. But they’ve since broaden their work and I connected with them late last year through a fundraiser. I was looking for a way to support them again this year.

And then the second one is Friends of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. And that’s a US nonprofit dedicated to Australian wildlife conservation. I serve on their board. And I’ve been trying to think of creative ways to raise more money for them. And that’s really how this surf challenge came about. Their work really focuses on conservation in Australia, which is important to me as an Australian, but it’s also globally relevant in terms of biodiversity. Some fun facts that, of all the species on the earth that 87% of mammals, 93% of reptiles and 94% of frog species are only found in Australia. And there’s a pretty high extinction rate, unfortunately.

So conservation efforts of nonprofits like these are pretty important, and I’m excited to raise money for them.

Host Raj Daniels 05:56

Sounds like a great cause. If we rewind the clock to January of 2020, some of us thought that the wildfires in Australia would be the worst thing that would happen that year.

Skye d’Almeida 06:08

I know. They were. I mean, they were absolutely shocking. I was back in Australia around that time, and you know, lots of homes destroyed lives lost. And in terms of wildlife, I think the last stat I saw was sort of over a billion animals perished in the fires and just a huge amount of destruction to natural habitats. So friends of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy are working with local conservation nonprofits in Australia to try to regenerate the areas that were burnt and conserve the animals that didn’t perish. But you’re right, we all thought that that was the worst thing to happen in 2020. And, boy, were we wrong.

Host Raj Daniels 06:50

I know. I have young children and couldn’t get enough of them watching the videos with the koala bears reaching out to people and is one that went around with the bicyclist, you know, providing water for the bears. It was just, it was amazing and sad. At the same time. You mentioned the number of species that are there. Do you know over the past year, if they’ve been to recover and rehabilitate any of those animals?

Skye d’Almeida 07:18

Yeah, there’s a lot of great stories about the rehabilitation of certain areas. The Australian Wildlife Conservancy, they actually, they’re a bit similar to the Nature Conservancy here in the US where they buy up large areas of land, and they actually ended up fencing the land removing all feral animals and feral predators. And they were really fortunate in that none of their conservation areas were actually damaged by the fires. So they were able to sort of protect those fragile ecosystems from the fires, which was great. But also some of the areas like Kangaroo Island were really decimated. And there’s been some good stories about certain emu species and marsupial’s coming back from the brink. So, you know, certainly a lot of damage, but also some good stories coming out of the fires.

Host Raj Daniels 08:20

That’s wonderful to hear. And regarding SurfAid, you mentioned helping remote communities. Is that correct?

Skye d’Almeida 08:26

Yes, it’s very health-focused. I think the angle around surfing, a lot of the places people like to surf are actually very remote areas. And particularly in Indonesia, there are pretty high mother and infant mortality rates still. So their works really focusing on. It’s a lot of local capacity building, which I really like. It’s not sort of parachuting in people from around the world to try to solve a problem on behalf of the locals. It’s working very closely with the locals to train them up and come up with solutions that work within that cultural context. And so they do a lot of work around health and sanitation in Indonesia, but they’ve also expanded to Latin America. And I believe that somewhere else that they’ve recently announced that, I’m drawing a blank.

Host Raj Daniels 09:24

Well, thank you for sharing that information. You know, feel free to share the links with me, I’ll put them in the show notes and you know, the audience can feel free to contribute how they can once you identify your competition.

Skye d’Almeida 09:34

Thanks. Thanks so much as I’d love that any donations would be welcomed. I’ll share a link with you

Host Raj Daniels 09:41

I’m going to take a hard right turn here and ask you to give the audience an overview of the current organization where you’re working and your role at the organization.

Skye d’Almeida 09:53

My current organization is the green investment group. And my role is I cover investors for North America and Latin America. I can expand on what that means in a moment. But maybe it makes more sense to start with what the Green Investment Group is. The Green Investment Group, or GHG, as we call it, it’s part of Macquarie Group. Macquarie is a globally diversified financial group. We are the world’s largest infrastructure investor. So we’re a listed company were founded 51 years ago in Australia, and subsequently growing to over 16,000 staff across 31 markets. And in the Americas, where I focus, we’ve got around two and half thousand staff at last count, and about a third of our income is generated in the Americas. So that’s the Macquarie.

The Green Investment Group is part of Macquarie, and it’s the dedicated principal investing business that focuses on green assets. So we’re investing Macquarie’s balance sheet capital, and we’re in the business of asset creation. And when I talk about assets, I’m not talking about financial products, I’m talking about physical green infrastructure assets, like solar farms, wind farms, battery storage assets, waste energy facilities, and so on.

And so the Green Investment Group invests Macquarie’s balance sheet to develop and build these green assets. So we’re investing debits and construction equity to take these assets from concept stage through to operations. And that’s where I come in. My job is to raise other equity to either come in alongside the Green Investment Group as our partner or to acquire the assets from us once we’ve done our work to sufficiently de-risk those assets. So we’re really in the business of creating green assets for long-term investors. And it’s my job to know who these long-term investors are and what they need.

Host Raj Daniels 11:57

So a couple of questions. So obviously, you’re investing in steel in the ground projects. Can you give an example or two of some of the projects you’ve invested in? And the second part of the question before I forget, is that have you seen, or has it been easier for you to find, you know, partnerships or partners to invest alongside you since you started at Macquarie?

Skye d’Almeida 12:20

I think there’s a couple of examples in, well, we can focus on the Americas. We’ve done a lot of work in Asia and Europe and other regions on offshore wind and waste to energy facilities and onshore renewables.

In the Americas, we developed a 200-megawatt wind farm in Texas that I helped sell to a Canadian fund. We developed a 60-megawatt energy storage portfolio in California that I help sell to foreign investors. So our business is investing in assets, and we’ll create these single assets and sell those. But we also create development platforms. And so we recently acquired a team and a development pipeline of utility-scale solar in the US. And we’ve subsequently grown it to a team of over 100 solar developers. They’ve got about 8600 megawatts of solar in development right now across 69 projects, and another 2600 megawatts of storage in development across 35 projects. It’s a fun one to be involved in because we’re really trying to build out this large-scale US utility-scale, utility solar developer, and selling single assets out of as they develop them.

And as they sufficiently de-risk those assets, it’s my job to help sell those assets.

So that’s the first part of your question. I think the second part was, how easy is it to find these investors?

It’s a good question because I think when I started in this role, I started in a different part of Macquarie. I was doing investor coverage, but it was for our advisory business. But back then, that was about four years ago, I was still talking to investors about renewables, it was just that we were advising them on acquiring renewables. In my current role, it’s we’re not advising, we’re actually just selling these renewable assets. But four years ago, when I was talking to investors about renewables, there was certainly appetite from some infrastructure investors. But I wouldn’t say it was widespread. And it’s unbelievable to see the change just in the last four years and particularly in the last 12 months. The level of appetite to invest in green assets has just grown exponentially. It makes my job a little easier to some extent. I still have to work pretty hard to find the right partner or the right investor and at the right price.

Host Raj Daniels 15:16

Thank you for hearing that. You know, you mentioned storage. And I know there’s a lot of conversation around storage right now. I’ve already been called the third leg of the stool, if you will, what are your personal views? Again, not representing Macquarie, but your personal views or thoughts around storage and where you think it is in its maturity cycle?

Skye d’Almeida 15:36

We’re seeing increasingly states and countries adopting ambitious green energy targets. Some of them, targeting 100% renewables 100%, green by 2030, 2040, 2050. And storage is obviously a really key part of that, just to deal with the sort of variability and intermittency of renewables.

I actually think there was a great piece of work done by Bloomberg NEF, I think they like to be called now, Bloomberg, New Energy Finance. I don’t know if you saw this one. This was back in I think, November last year. And they looked at the combination of solar and storage, and whether it could actually compete with gas. So both open cycle and combined cycle gas. And I thought what was very interesting about the analysis was that they actually found that utility-scale solar and storage is already a cost-competitive alternative to the majority of new gas papers in the US. And they found that you can get to about 70–80% renewables with existing solar and storage technologies. And do so cost competitively. There’s obviously that other 20% that we need to think about, and I think there’s other technologies that are going to be important for that 20%.

Storage is really a key piece if we’re to decarbonize our grid, and I’m personally very excited about finding ways to deploy more storage at scale.

Host Raj Daniels 17:22

I am too, to see, you know, all these new companies recently that have come up on the horizon. It’s just, it’s so exciting right now, every other article now or conversation I’m having is around storage. And most recently, I spoke with a gentleman who was out in California, I’m guessing not too far from where you are. This was about two or three weeks ago, and he was telling me about the public safety shut-offs that were going on, and about storage out there. And we were talking about storage capacity. And now he feels that you know, like four hours is a sweet spot. But it’s just fascinating to see this industry almost bloom overnight.

Skye d’Almeida 17:57

Yeah. And I mean, there’s been a lot of hard work over the last multiple decades. When I started in this space, about 13 years ago, we were looking at some alternative storage technologies, and the costs were prohibitively high. And fortunately, we’ve really seen those costs come down. And so storage has become an economic and viable option. Now, I think seasonal storage still needs a lot of work. And a lot of people are very focused on that. But yes, those sort of four to six-hour storage solutions are available now. And it’s time to get investing.

Host Raj Daniels 18:35

It sure is. So going back to when you started in this space. And, you know, the crux of our conversation is the why behind what you do, what attracted you to this sector? And why, what’s your drive? What drives you?

Skye d’Almeida 18:49

It’s actually quite intentional that I’m working in this role at Macquarie. It didn’t happen by accident. As I said, I actually started in sustainability about 13 years ago. I was raised by parents who were environmentally conscious. I wouldn’t say that, they weren’t hippies I get, I get often I get asked if that were who basically the name like Skye, but, you know, they cared about the environment. And they cared about biodiversity.

So from a young age, I was pretty focused on nature and the environment, but I didn’t plan to study or pursue a career in that space. And it actually wasn’t until I saw our goals in An Inconvenient Truth that I actually decided to pursue this career path. So filmmakers out there, you can have a pretty big impact. Yeah, I actually I remember being in the cinema and I was crying and I left feeling absolutely panicked and completely consumed thinking about what can I do and how can I help? Eventually, that led me to apply for a job in climate policy for the Australian Government.

That was back in 2008 when I took that role. And through that role and subsequent roles prior to Macquarie, you know, we were doing great work around climate policies and incentive programs and R&D programs. But we just kept coming up against the same issue time and time again. And that was really an issue around. How do you actually attract the large-scale private investment needed to deliver the scale of climate solutions required? You know, it became very apparent that government funding alone wasn’t going to get us there. And we need private capital, and we needed large sums of private capital. But in talking to a lot of the people around me, I realized not many actually knew how to access that capital. And so that was, yeah, that was a bit of an aha moment for me, where I realized I needed to understand how capital markets work, and how investors make decisions.

So when I studied master’s in finance, and then I was fortunate enough to get a role at a climate change nonprofit called C40 Cities. And if you’re not familiar with their work, Raj, definitely, definitely look them up after this because I honestly can’t speak highly enough of C40 and the work they do. So I was in Sydney at the time, the job was in New York, I packed my two suitcases and moved to the US. I literally had two suitcases. My whole life was in those two suitcases.

Then at C40, I helped set up a new sustainable finance program, where we were working with the mayors of some of the world’s largest cities around the world to help them think about sustainable infrastructure investment for their cities, and how to access private capital. And that work was extremely rewarding. But the role at Macquarie came along and I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to learn how investors make decisions and to work for one. So I took the role at Macquarie.

I make it sound easy. It’s like they just handed it to me, but I certainly had to convince them to hire me. But if I’m honest, I took the role at Macquarie as a bit of a learning opportunity. And I wasn’t really sure if I’d stay long term, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a banker. But I have stayed. And that’s because the work is interesting. And I have great colleagues and I have a great boss. But most importantly, it’s because I feel like the work is impactful. You know, I’m part of a dedicated green investment team.

It’s actually a global team of over 450 people now who are exclusively focusing on creating and investing in new green assets and building the assets that we need. So we’ve invested or arranged close to $10 billion in green projects in just the last three years, and we have over 30 gigawatts of renewables in development. So and we’re also working on other new green asset classes. And we’ve got a creative and clever team of technology and finance experts who are really helping to prove the bankability of these newer green opportunities.

And in my role, in particular, I feel like I’m really getting to the bottom of this question that I started with around how do you attract large-scale private investment in climate solutions?

Host Raj Daniels 23:24

So it sounds like you found a home at least for now. But I want to go back to the Al Gore movie, you said you were crying when you walked out? Do you remember, specifically, what are the scenes that moved you?

Skye d’Almeida 23:41

It was a documentary where it was really just heavy on data and charts. And I just, I hadn’t I didn’t feel like I’d really been exposed to the scale of the challenge. And so it wasn’t necessarily a scene, it was just they did such a good job at presenting all of this information. And by the end of it, you just I felt so overwhelmed and panicked. Quite honestly, I was sitting next to my brother and we were both we just sort of looked at each other and thought, oh, gosh, we’re all doomed. What do we do?

Host Raj Daniels 24:20

You also said that you want to figure out how capital markets and financial professionals, what makes them tick is my word for it, or what makes them invest? What have you found?

Skye d’Almeida 24:33

There are a few pieces that I’ve worked out. I think part of it is what makes them tick and what drives their decisions. I think there’s some common themes there, but it obviously varies depending on what kind of investor they are, you know, VC investors are different to growth equity investors who are different to private equity investors who are different to you know, your call infrastructure investors. But there’s so there’s this piece around what, what they want. And I’ll come back to that.

There’s also I think this piece around the language that they speak. In government, I was working with other people in government and then with industry, and then when I was working in the nonprofit, I was working with mayors. And they’re kind of the equivalent of the CFO of the cities. And there was this real disconnect in the kind of terminology and language that people used, versus what, you know, the private financiers used, and it felt like, people were just talking past each other and didn’t totally understand what the other party wanted. So that was part of it for me was, you know, I need to learn how to speak their language, I need to learn how they think and what drives their decisions. And then hopefully, I can be more impactful in trying to, I think, bridge that gap between the various parties who have the projects and the parties who want to invest in those projects.

But on the piece around, you know, what is it that investors want? I think the key lesson for me has been, if you can make climate solutions look like infrastructure, there’s an abundance of private capital ready to invest. And when I say infrastructure, I’m talking about assets with long operational lives with very stable, predictable cash flows.

You can think about a toll road where you have an available payment from the government. And as the investor, you know, upfront, you have a 40-year contract with an investment grade counterparty, that tells you that if you provide an agreed level of service, you’ll get a pre-agreed level of payment every year for that 40 years. And pension funds and other infrastructure investors, they love those assets, and they’ll write those checks all day, every day. So if you can make your green asset or your climate solution as low risk and as boring as a toll road, you’ll have investors lining up to take it off your hands.

Boring is beautiful in the eyes of infrastructure investors. And I think that’s really why we’re seeing so much demand for long-term contracts with renewables, you know, they’re not sexy, them, they’re pretty vanilla assets. And that’s really the goal, it’s to de-risk the assets as much as possible, and sell to low-risk, low-cost of capital investors like pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance funds, and, and core infrastructure investors.

But sometimes these vanilla low-risk infrastructure assets are rare in the green space, and it can be difficult to structure certain green assets in this way. The length of power purchase agreements is coming down over time, and investors are increasingly being asked to take merchant power risk, but also with newer technologies, there can be more uncertainty around the long-term performance of the assets, you know, what, what do revenues look like, in 15 years time? What’s the availability or the cost of inputs and so on.

So in some cases, it can be a little more challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible. And I think this is really where Macquarie excels, it’s finding ways to structure and de-risk new asset classes to make them look as much like infrastructure as possible.

Host Raj Daniels 28:20

I like the idea of making them look like infrastructure. It’s beautiful.

Skye d’Almeida 28:24

Boring is beautiful.

Host Raj Daniels 28:26

So speaking of long-term, and Macquarie, I don’t expect you to speak for Macquarie or the Green Investment Group. So I’m going to ask you a broad overall thesis, you know, 2030, how have you seen perhaps infrastructure investing change in the next 10 years? Especially green infrastructure investing?

Skye d’Almeida 28:47

It’s already changing. I think the definition of infrastructure has been changing. And I suspect that that will continue. You know, traditionally, infrastructure was, you know, the toll roads, I mentioned, airports, large scale, power plants, utilities, and they had to really meet some pretty specific criteria around, you know, being natural monopolies or having some kind of barriers to entry so that you were satisfied that you had predictable revenue for 30–40 years and weren’t going to be undermined by other competition. So I think that’s certainly changed.

And you’re seeing some of the infrastructure funds and some of the pensions and sovereign wealth through their infrastructure allocations actually looking at businesses that businesses and assets that don’t necessarily have all of those features. So there’s a bit more flexibility around what they’re including in their infrastructure allocations or in their infrastructure funds. I think that’s going to continue. But I think by 2030, just ESG has already become extremely topical. And we’re seeing a couple of funds, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, infrastructure funds, making climate commitments, or raising dedicated pools of capital for renewables or other green solutions.

I’d be very surprised in 2030 if every one of the institutional investors doesn’t have some form of commitment or some form of dedicated capital focusing on ESG and climate solutions. There’s just already a huge demand for assets, that that sort of tick those boxes in terms of ESG, and that’s going to grow. And I think the challenge on our side for the Green Investment Group and others like us is to keep up with that demand and to keep developing those assets that are low risk enough, and meet the fiduciary responsibilities of investors, but also, you know, meet all the ESG criteria that they’re adopting.

Host Raj Daniels 31:08

You know, second, that ESG piece, Larry Fink has written, you know, two letters recently won last year, one this year, where he emphasized called out essentially, the, you know, ESG sector and how if companies don’t start thinking about it, they are essentially going to be left behind. So absolutely, double-click on that.

Skye d’Almeida 31:25

In my mind, my personal view is it’s just being prudent about risk management. If you’re not already thinking about climate, then I don’t think you’re effectively managing the risks of your assets under management and, and future assets that you intend to invest in. And also, increasingly there’s, there’s research suggesting that it goes hand in hand, you’re factoring in climate risk and ESG actually has financial returns and certain ESG investments are outperforming traditional investments. So there’s the added advantage of potentially earning a higher return from ESG strategies. That’s not always the case. But at a very minimum, like at an absolute minimum, from a risk management perspective, everyone should really be thinking about climate already.

Host Raj Daniels 32:23

Well, that’s a great piece of advice. This leads to my last question, which is more specifically if you could share some advice that could be professional or personal with the audience? What would it be?

Skye d’Almeida 32:38

It’s not my advice. It’s a piece of advice that’s been rattling around in my head lately. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Peter Diamandis. He’s an entrepreneur.

Host Raj Daniels 32:54

I’ve read his books.

Skye d’Almeida 33:00

He talks a lot about taking moonshots. And I guess, for the benefit of your listeners who don’t know, Peter, it’s probably fair to say he’s a techno-optimist. And maybe he’s a little too optimistic for some people. But I think we could use a little optimism right now. And I really like the way he approaches disruptive thinking.

And, you know, he knows on a personal level, and in a business capacity, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Richard Branson. And they spent a lot of time looking at what all four of them have in common, you know, what are the common traits. And one of the things he concluded was that all four took plenty of what he terms moonshots meaning that when their peers were thinking about incremental growth and incremental improvement, these four were we’re shooting for the moon and disrupting entire industries. So they were the ones pursuing the so-called crazy ideas.

And Peter has a nice quote that, you know, the day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea. So I think the advice that he gives really distills down to instead of thinking about 10%, bigger or 10%, better think 10 times bigger or better. So he says that 1,000% is 100 times greater than 10%. But it’s generally not 100 times harder to achieve. And, you know, it’s really these 1,000% improvements that have an impact and that’s the scalar impact that we need to address climate change. So I’ve really started challenging myself to think bigger in terms of impact and, and I guess that’s the piece of advice that I’m focusing on at the moment.

Host Raj Daniels 34:43

I like that, I think between Kurzweil Kotler and Diamandis, we’re gonna live forever and Neuralink soon.

Skye d’Almeida 34:51

We’ve got an interesting future ahead of us.

Host Raj Daniels 34:53

And there is that quote about history bending towards the unreasonable man or something like that. But since you mentioned it, and you said 100x, what do you think about 100x-ing?

Skye d’Almeida 35:07

Oh, it’s a work in progress on so I’ll let you know, as soon as I find I figure out what that is. I mean, I’m thinking a lot about, you know, my experience, the investor relationships that I’ve sort of built over time. It’s really been my job to get out and get to know over 200 investors who are sort of writing equity checks anywhere from $5 million to $500 million. And so, you know, there’s scope to have a lot of impact there. We’re talking about collectively trillions of dollars under management, and they all want to deploy that capital into climate solutions. And so I think within the Green Investment Group, we’re really trying to tap into that, and I believe we are going to have a pretty significant impact going forward. But yeah, on a personal level, I’m still working through what my moonshot looks like.

Host Raj Daniels 36:03

Well, let’s go back to the beginning of our conversation where you spoke about raising money for the two nonprofits. Have you thought about how much you want to raise this year?

Skye d’Almeida 36:15

I have I mean, I’m starting with a pretty modest target of $20,000. But you know what Raj, maybe you’re right.

Host Raj Daniels 36:28

Modesty doesn’t align with what you just said.

Skye d’Almeida 36:30

You’re absolutely right. I need to think bigger. I need to take my own advice here. Honestly.

Host Raj Daniels 36:38

Put it up there and put it out in the universe. Go ahead.

Skye d’Almeida 36:42

Alright, maybe I will, maybe I will. Let’s say it’s the nonprofit’s those two nonprofits. I mean, there are so many amazing nonprofits out there doing phenomenal work. And those two are really, very close to my heart. But there’s other ways that I’d like to help in addition to through my career and through supporting nonprofits and building networks. It’s all it’s a work in progress in the back of my brain right now.

Host Raj Daniels 37:11

Let’s go. I hope you blow it out of the water. I really enjoyed speaking with you. And I look forward to checking back with you later this year to check on your goal.

Skye d’Almeida 37:18

Thanks so much, Raj. Thanks again for inviting me and this has been a lot of fun. Thank you.


www.greeninvestmentgroup.com

Before we go, I’m excited to share that we’ve launched the Bigger Than Us comic strip, The Adventures of Mira and Nexi.

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Raj Daniels