Last christmas, my brother bought me a book called Clean Money. The book is about investing in clean and green technology which to me is the next big thing. The book got me very interested in all the emerging technologies that will create our energy in the future. I’ve always been passionate about building a more sustainable future and the companies and ideologies featured in this book continue to inspire me.
Then, about a month ago I received an email from YEP (Youth Environmental Professionals) about a guy named Andrew who was coming to Calgary to speak about various green related things such as the importance of green entrepreneurs and the new technologies contributing to the green economy. I then emailed YEP and Andrew to score an interview for the site.
Andrew Heintzman is the president and co-founder of Investeco Capital Corp, the first Canadian investment company to be exclusively focused on environmental sectors. Andrew is also the Chair of the Premier’s Climate Change Advisory Panel for the Province of Ontario. He sits on a number of corporate boards, including Lotek Wireless, Triton Logging and Horizon Distributors. In addition, he is on the board of directors of the Tides Canada Foundation, and the Steering Committee of Sustainable Prosperity. Andrew is the author of The New Entrepreneurs: Building a Green Economy for the Future, and was co-editor of Fueling the Future: How the Battle Over Energy is Changing Everything, Feeding the Future: From Fat to Famine, and Food and Fuel: Solutions for the Future, all published by the House of Anansi Press. Before Investeco, Andrew was a co-founder and publisher of Shift Magazine.
1. As President and co-founder of Investeco Capital, Canada’s first exclusively environmentally-focused investment company, How does it feel to lead the way and what brought you here?
It feels good, though there is still a lot of work to do. I first became interested in putting my passion for the environment together with my love of business and entrepreneurship. That was ten years ago, and it was an eccentric idea at the time. Today, this idea that business can be good for the environment is more of a mainstream notion. And I think that’s good progress.
But we still have a ways to go, to actually use this engine for change to make the world more sustainable. That’s a 50 year project, and I hope to be a part of it.
2. I think it’s great that “investing” is also starting to become green. Do you think the recent green trend is here to stay this time around?
Yes, because at the most basic level, green is just more efficient. Using resources more efficiently, in a time of exploding populations globally, is just logical, and so I think its here to stay.
3. For someone new to investing but wanting to put their money towards something like clean tech, where is a good place to start?
They could look at offerings from firms like Investeco, or they could look at directly buying stocks in green sectors.
4. What are some of the new technologies and practices contributing to the new green economy?
We’re excited about things like smart grid, water technologies like desalination, and biofuels, just to name three. Also, I think there is a lot of interesting potential to apply technologies to make our resource industries more efficient.
5. What are some of the effects of the market failure, and the resulting changes within various sectors?
Climate change is the largest market failure. It results from an improper pricing of the cost to society of using energy. If we want to solve that problem, we have to start to deal with that market failure in some way. That will spur new technologies to reduce GHG emissions.
6. Why are green entrepreneurs so important in our time?
They are giving society hope, and they are providing a new kind of leadership. They are one of the few groups in our society who are not waiting around for someone else to solve the problem.
7. And just for fun, what’s one of your favorite inspiring quotes or stories you can share with us?
At the beginning of my book I have a quote from Paul Hawken that I am fond of: “If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”
I also love this quote by Reinhold Niebuhr:
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith
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