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John Cook is a registered portfolio manager and venture investor focused on businesses whose products and services address resource scarcity and ecological challenges. He is currently President and CEO of Greenchip Financial.

Is Greta Thunberg just this decade’s Al Gore? We’re more optimistic than that

Greenchip Financial's John Cook says 2019 felt a lot like 2006, but $7 trillion in clean tech should have more staying power

If Greenchip Financial is any kind of an indicator that Canadians see a connection between capital investment and environmental sustainability, 2019 may have been was a watershed year. It was arguably Greenchip’s strongest year to date. Our Greenchip Global Equity Fund was up 34.6% (gross) for the year and assets finally surpassed $100 million. In its first full year, the retail Mackenzie Fund that we sub-advise brought in almost $35 million.

I think we should be both optimistic and cautious about last year. I say this because to us it feels a bit like January 2006. That was the year Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth. Actors drove Priuses to the Golden Globe Awards and gave strange environmentally-focused acceptance speeches, much like this awards season. Australia was still un-scorched but Katrina was fresh in our minds. 2006 was the year magazines launched their first annual green editions, and marketers greenwashed every product they could. My favorite was the entrepreneur pitching a green road salt product in our offices, that was literally road salt…colored green!

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Redefining impact investing

By Greg Payne and John Cook
The future must include long-term value creation, but that means moving beyond our live-for-the-moment investing mindset.

Gord Nixon stepped up to the microphone at a conference in Toronto last fall and announced that Canada’s largest financial institution was allocating $20 million of its assets to social impact investments. The chief executive of Royal Bank of Canada eloquently described how this program could help spark entrepreneurship, innovation and even provide reasonable investment returns to the bank. He also called on the CEOs of other banks to get on board.

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