How to Make Green Financial Decisions – E68

Great to chat with Bonnie Gurry, Co-Founder at GreenPortfolio, a company that helps you know the climate impact of your finances! We discussed

ESG standards, greenwashing, finances as a powerful way to fight climate change, the need to direct people towards fighting climate change and more!

https://carbotnic.com/greenporfolio

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Thanks so much! 

James

The unedited podcast transcript is below

James McWalter   

Hello today we’re speaking with Bonnie gurry co-founder at green portfolio welcome to the podcast Bonnie brilliant I suppose to start with. Could you tell us a little bit about Greenportfolio?

Bonnie Gurry

Thanks for having me James I’m so glad to be here. Green portfolio is a financial management platform that offers personalized insights about the climate impact of your money so we screen your investments car transactions. All of the different financial products you use so that. You know where you stand are you backing Fossil Fuels or are you investing in a clean energy Future. We Want everyone to feel empowered to make impactful changes that will actually make a difference in the fight against climate change and so.

James McWalter  

 And and so what drove that initial decision to start the company and just how do you identify? This is such a big problem.

Bonnie Gurry

So all of this began. Ah quite some time ago.  I worked for new york state ah quite a bit ago ah helping them develop renewable energy projects. and I saw the kinds of deals that institutional investors were getting and I wanted to add that kind of ah project to my own portfolio I wanted to take some of my money and make sure it was in you know helping to build a clean energy future and I found it pretty hard to do. . Started doing research building spreadsheets. and this was a long time ago. It’s something I’ve kind of kept track of over the years and then in the end of 2019 I actually applied to the nrdc the national resources defense council for a grant just to start to build. Ah. Public resource for people to kind of try to do the same analysis of their money and it’s slowly turned into what is now Green portfolio. so we we began more of ah as a kind of reviews educational website and now we’ve we’ve pivoted into being a. Ah software product for consers. So we’ve we’ve kind of changed our focus over time and I’m I’m happy to talk a bit more about that as well. Just.

James McWalter   

And just I supposed to go back to that beginning piece. So when you say projects are we talking you know what kind of projects were the types of projects. You wish you could have had some sort of investment access to.

Bonnie Gurry

So at the time we were ah we had put out an rfp for wind farms was 1 of the major projects I was working on was wind farms across new york state and these were ah projects that were being essentially backed by new york state so they probably weren’t going to. Even if they failed the state would be there to kind of back up the investment. as long as the wind blew they generated electricity. and and you know I could see the banks were getting a very fair return on this almost very low risk investment. and I found it really frustrating that at that time especially. I couldn’t do the same thing in my portfolio that you basically had to be a large bank  or other kind of and you know institutional lender to have access to that kind of investment I mean so some time ago. Ah climate finance climate fintech has really evolved in the last you know Decade. Ah. So and even esg all of this has changed a lot. The landscape has changed ah but but that was the kind of thing I wanted to be able to fund and was really frustrated that I wasn’t able to do so.

James McWalter   

And if we look at the kind of massive growth in clean energy companies some of them driven by Sps some of them driven by more traditional methods of financing. yeah there’s basically a ton of returns that have been generated in the last ten years and and that is. You know probably going to accredited investors only at this point.

Bonnie Gurry

I would agree with that I think the average investor has not had a lot of exposure to this market which if you believe that ultimately we need to adjust our entire infrastructure to stop climate change the fact that. Average person doesn’t have much exposure to this to me is is really unfair and so that’s 1 reason why we started green portfolio is because we think everyone should not only be able to stop funding fossil fuels if that’s what they want to do but also have exposure to green assets actual. Green assets if. That’s important to them as well.

04:15.0 James McWalter   

I Guess as it goes as kind of emotional took a war that people in the climate space are constantly kind of dealing with between you know I suppose outlining the downsides outlining you know basically fear-based messaging versus like hope-based messaging like the the positive upside.

Bonnie Gurry

We have.

James McWalter   

And absolutely Agree. You know divestment from fossil fuels is like a necessary but like not sufficient condition to make major change whereas it’s the actual investment in you know the clean technologies of today and of the next kind of couple of decades which gets people excited right? You know people are going to have evs in most parking lots pretty soon people are going to you know. Be able to build a house and and know that the concrete is coming from. You know carbon to value concrete and all those kind of tech is coming along. But I agree like if I don’t think we do as good a job explaining the upside as ah overall climate community as we might.

Bonnie Gurry

I would agree with that and I I also think on occasion we get a little bit stuck in looking for perfection as well. like I’ve had some people be frustrated because you know so there are some you know bond funds that we think are very green but hold treasury bonds. And like treasury bonds are not a green asset. Well but that’s just the reality of how financial products work. Of course they’re going to have to hold something in something more liquid. but the majority of it is and you can still you know add some of that to your portfolio diversify a bit  and and still make a difference even if it. You know we’re not saying that everyone should take all their money and invest in only Green assets but we think it should be part of a ah ah reasonable diversification effort.  for the average person.

James McWalter   

Sure. Absolutely and so you mentioned this kind of pivot from more an informational product into more of a software product and so what is the product today and I suppose what you know how is that working. So.

Bonnie Gurry

So right now we’re essentially mid-pivot. so ah you caught us a kind of ah ah I hate to say but a pivotal moment. where so while we were building out this kind of informational reviews-based site.

Bonnie Gurry

We did a lot of customer interviews. both with people who knew a lot about green investing and people who knew very little and we found that especially the people who knew a lot about green green investing ah had been doing ah very similar to exercises that I had been doing which was tracking their finances in excel. And doing all this legwork to figure out which of the funds had Fossil Fuel assets which ones didn’t  and many of them were frustrated and ah you know they wanted to do it but they who has time who has time to do that. and. On the other hand we found that there were a lot of people who on the whole don’t enjoy managing their finances green or otherwise found it find it a bit daunting but really care about the environment and just wanted to essentially press a button and say what’s Good. What’s bad. Can you just tell me. . And so that’s when we say you know we need more than just information people Really There’s a real you know open space for this kind of product. No 1 else is really doing this people really want to do it. and we think this is a service that we could provide  and so that’s really what. Changed our focus was hearing from potential users that this is what they really Wanted. Information was great but they were kind of overwhelmed.  what they wanted was analysis and insight particular to their finances.

James McWalter   

Absolutely you know I think about some of the products I use for my own just personal finance. Nothing to do with green portfolio but things like mint or personal capital or these kind of products you know they they go into my you know savings accounts or you know my brokerage accounts. Whatever it may be they s it up and they say Okay you know you have this amount of equities this amount of bonds and you know a little bit of more information besides that and it would absolutely be phenomenal to know you know I’m holding all these etfs and how dirty are those etfs right? But you know I’m trying to be green and in my day today but I have no idea I might through some my etfs just be holding a ton of coal. Ah.

Bonnie Gurry

You will.

James McWalter  

Power plants that I’m not even aware of.

Bonnie Gurry

You you probably are and that’s 1 thing people don’t realize even if they have gone to the trouble of say buying an esg fund or using only esg funds ah because of the way esg works and first of all there’s no standard for what and.

James McWalter   

No.

Bonnie Gurry

What esg is there are many different people who have many different ratings that call themselves esg ratings. There’s no government entities saying here’s how you should or should not do it. But in general it’s done on an industry basis. So ah a. Exxon for instance tends to have a very high environmental rating because compared to other oil and gas companies. They are cleaner in Theory. Ah so they are very likely in an esg etf. Ah which most people don’t think is going to happen.

James McWalter   

Here here. Right now.

Bonnie Gurry

Ah but the reality is that esg was not developed for individuals. It was developed for institutions professionals. But now it’s really being used as a marketing tool in my opinion to greenwash things for a conser. Ah who doesn’t have the time to dig into all of the ratings and to learn how they are developed and used.

James McWalter   

Let’s chat a little bit about greenwashing. You know it is something that I think people are becoming more aware of but this was yeah how do you define greenwashing and what are the? ah. I think there’s a couple different flavors of green washing some way worse than others. But how do you think about that as a kind of general concept.

Bonnie Gurry

Ah for us greenwashing is pretty much anything being done to trick a conser into thinking what they’re using. Actually it’s helping the environment and many products in this space in.

James McWalter   

And then.

Bonnie Gurry

Financial many financial products in this space I think are guilty of that. if you start digging into certain carbon offsets if you start really as I mentioned the esg funds it it can be really frustrating to try to actually find products that are making a difference. If I see another credit card that is compostable that that 1 drives me up a wall like fantastic I’m glad you’re using compostable plastic I suppose but what do you think you’re actually doing with that. That’s not really moving the needle. But they understand that people are emotional. It makes them feel good when they swipe a card that is compostable but there needs to be more behind it and our finances are 1 of the most powerful tools we have to fight climate change and almost no 1 is using their finances to fight climate Change. . Where we as a society spend our money matters and our society is made up of people who have money and investments and collectively if we start to adjust it. We can start to change How things are invested.

James McWalter   

Yeah I think yeah on the greenwashing side the in 1 and 1 respect I think it’s just it’s in s total of han you know existence. It’s a net positive because just the fact that people care enough about it. The green to be washed is a positive right? that companies are making sort of response to and.

Bonnie Gurry

Boom.

James McWalter   

You know for first twenty thirty years of like an environmental movement that was being kind of translated into conser action. It was just completely nonsense right? It was like you know we’re just doing this tiny little thing over here and just burning down a ton of rainforest over there and you know don’t don’t look at over here. You know just focus on this 1 little project that’s happening locally. Whatever may be I think what we’re kind of. Starting to see is and I think the the movement on the financialization of esg and the adding you know of like large index indicess that are starting to bring in these kind of metrics to evaluate your different kind of companies means that the the actual like responsibility for sustainability at the company is moving from. You know some side team to the cfo.  And I think that shift is kind of really driving it from ah yeah sustainability slash marketing team to actually the financial cfo team who has more of a I supposed see it at the board for a lot of these dirtier companies.

Bonnie Gurry

Ah hundred percent I agree with that and and even though I on the whole don’t love esg I think it has been a ah ah net positive by even even if the the calculations and the the metrics used can be misleading at least for measuring something. you know at least it puts companies on notice that people are paying attention and they least have to try to maintain some effort of reducing their impact on on the world and climate in Particular. . So I so I agree that it. Well once again it’s back to that the concept before we you know we’re not going to find perfect right now we have to use the tools we have the resources we have to to make the effect the greatest change we can. So yeah on the whole I think greenwashing is frustrating to the end conser but at at least.

James McWalter  

 Absolutely and 1 of the things you mentioned earlier. It was a little bit more tactical but I think I’d love to dive into it. A little bit is the kind of user research and the user interview process. You know I talked to a ton of startups but on the podcast and elsewhere.

Bonnie Gurry

Companies are starting to care more.

James McWalter  

 And I would say if I had to pick like a nber 1 sign of a startup who are increasing their chance of success. It’s like the nber of times they talk to users especially at the earliest days you know I suppose tactically what? what was your process to get in front of the kind of people you needed to talk to.

Bonnie Gurry

Well so for 1 we really put it at front and center of what we were doing ah for quite some time because we realized we hadn’t quite something wasn’t quite fitting perfectly and in the in the product we were providing to users. And so we really wanted to dig into that to try to understand ah different users problems and so we on on 1 hand just like reached out to people we knew and asked them hey can we talk to a random cousin anyone anyone like because everyone has money. In some sort of financial product. So that’s kind of where we started.  and then we slowly got introduced especially to companies that had sustainable investing groups. Those are really great for being able to talk to people who cared about this subject already.  we started keeping our ears open for companies that had internal employee sustainable investing groups and asking ah can we you know? can we do a lunch and learn. Can we set up a time to talk with a few of your employees and over time we I mean we’ve done hundreds of interviews and it absolutely helped us better understand. People’s needs and concerns.  and shaped how we are going about not only designing the product but then also how we’re going to go about selling and deploying the product as well. So I do highly recommend. Ah customer interviews.

James McWalter   

Yeah and like I said ah I think on the podcast in the in the past yeah I reach out to a couple hundred people a week no matter what I’m working on just cold warm like you can’t nearly can’t do enough kind of conversations and maybe only 2 people reply to. But. You know that that is all part of you know kind of startup and iteration. so when I think about this kind of product that’s kind of emergent at the moment you know it sounds like there’s kind of 2 pieces to it. There’s a software piece on it. There’s like a data piece and so software piece I’d imagine some sort of interface where I can log in I can maybe potentially add the assets already have or.

Bonnie Gurry

But yeah absolutely.

James McWalter   

You know and you can correct i’ wrong potentially ah purchase other types of assets or or link different kinds of assets together and then it’s the actual data to give insight into whether these are how how green how climate positive how you know impactful these different investments are you know I suppose. James McWalter   Where are you where you how you try to tackle both of those problems and what’s your general approach.

Bonnie Gurry

so we are in the beginning at least working with some third party tools to help us just start to scale up and part of that is because we want to do more than just. Ah. Help people see the impact of their finances. We also want to give them real time information on the companies they’re investing in what are they doing in this space day-to-day. you know no 1 has time to go and google every single company that is in their investment portfolio. So we want to be able to ping people and tell them you know. Here’s what Apple did today that has an environmental impact. We also want to connect them with the means to offset their purchases if that’s important to them if that’s something that they want to do we want to be able to provide them both a very. High level understanding of the climate impact of a particular financial product but then for kind of the super user if they want to click through and read about where that nber came from how we calculated it why we are judging a certain fund or company to be rated a certain way. Ah we want them to have that transparency because I think people are tired of having to ah you know trying to read the methodology of all these different esg ratings companies that they have access to so we want to make it really transparent because people are really frustrated with. You know being greenwashed to this point. Ah so we don’t want to contribute to that problem. so so there is a fine balance there though because we also want we don’t want it to be a chore right? We want this to be almost. You know kind of fun see how much money you have has your climate score gone up compare you to other users.

James McWalter  

 So absolutely.

Bonnie Gurry

 see what other users are up to we want to be able to provide like anonymize like user information. Oh twenty percent of our users drop this fund this week do you want to we think there’s a lot of engagement we can do as well. . Building on the data sets that we are developing and utilizing.

James McWalter  

 No absolutely and I guess like the value trust right becomes so important because a lot of what you’re doing is translating a lot of ah hard to understand concepts into some sort of relatively simple set of metrics and that translation like it necessitates a ton of trust on the user and I guess when I think through like est in particular and you know that’s the basis for so so Much. What’s happening. You know there’s 3 aspects of esg right? There’s the environmental social and the governance. you know a lot of The. Organization a lot of organizations will have a very good you know governance rating because you know the the founders don’t own forty forty 2 percent of the company or whatever it is and they have a decent board. whereas again they might be burning down right for some daily basis or doing other kind of terrible things with ah you know twitch shops and all this kind of thing.

Do you think about the other elements outside of the environmental piece and will those also be kind of incorporated into green portfolio.

Bonnie Gurry

So ah the data that we’re pulling in does have some of those external like s and g ratings as well. They we envision that it will be something that users will have access to seeing but because our first and foremost. Ah Metric is climate impact. We’re really stay focused on that. Ah but because also I want to mention we’re not taking anyone’s money right? So we’re not managing people’s money we can’t tell you exactly what funds that swap out things like that. So we do understand that people have different value systems. Ah but for now we’re really just focusing on the environmental climate impact risk of a particular financial product.

James McWalter  

 And and I think that makes a ton of sense you know focus especially early days. Super important. You know it’s better to have ah like ah a great skateboard than you know kind of half-filled car across all these different metrics. you mentioned that you’re not going to have a fiduciary duty. You’re not going to be directly kind of managing money. Makes a ton of sense is a Saas model is that the kind of current plan to to monetize. Okay perfect. Yeah I think that definitely aligns because the better the experience the fund all those elements you bring to the user.  the more they want to stay with you and so I think in this space. . Like that that that makes sense to me from a monetization point of View. So.

Bonnie Gurry

Yeah and we also are really seeing a lot of interest from companies actually who and this kind of goes back to where we a lot of our work in the beginning was in these sustainable employee groups. Ah. And and there are companies who are really feeling pressure from their employees to be greener do better and they would love to be able to provide a tool to their really proactive employees ah to help them to manage their climate anxiety Honestly ah people have a lot of climate anxiety with with good reason. And so we we see this as something that ah employees are actually employers are actually very interested in providing as a benefit as well. So we’re We’re really excited about that.

James McWalter   

I love that that point the perk space I think is this kind of remarkably interesting b 2 b to c kind of opportunity and I’ve talked to a few friends of mine who are kind of exploring kind of opportunities in that space. So 1 is but. Kind of adding electrify your home as a perk right? So the company would give you know twenty percent of any home renovations that you know you pull out the gas stove and you put in you know induction or whatever it may be and but rather than trying to go knock door to door and find all those individuals you offer it as a perk and like that’s a much easier sell right? because you only have to sign up.You know 3 hundred companies to be part of the pers program versus you know the 1 hundred thousand employees that they have collectively and so yeah and also to your point like the amount of competition for high end. Ah yeah people for for talent is getting hotter every year and

Bonnie Gurry

It is.

James McWalter   

And people have more of a care about the the impact that they have and so you know I like I feel we’re moving from like a world of like foosballs and free lunch to a much kind of greener set of perks that that employees are after.

Bonnie Gurry

I think that’s true as well. I think especially after covid people are starting to reassess what really matters and ah also during covid a lot of people in the last year have felt climate change affect them personally in a manner that wasn’t happening ten years ago five years ago even 3 years ago and and I think people want to start to assess their climate risk and we are a useful tool for that to help them start to understand you know what portion of your finances are invested in different facets of the you know. Clean economy. So that people can start to actually implement changes that matter to them. So so yeah we we see ourselves as part of that as well.

James McWalter  

 Yeah the glass here I Definitely feel is a bit of an inflection point and it’s hard to know when you’re in the middle of an inflection point like maybe things you know slow down again. but mainly because  so many people in places of power whether it’s you know Silicon Valley Capital Vc capitalists or You know members of government. Not only were they kind of stuck at home and weren’t able to do things that had always been an easy set of choices or they’d literally see their you know backyards or their homes at on fire. you know when I look at the vc like the amount of money pouring into climate vc this year I think it’s greater than the previous 10 years combined it’s absolutely like booming at the moment especially for seed and pree levels and so and to get this kind of early stage but you know as you kind of talk to the investment community. You know what are the kind of things that they find compelling about what you’re working on.

Bonnie Gurry

I mean we’ve had some really really great conversations. Ah with a nber of investors. We’re actually going to be opening our first round later this year which we’re really excited about? yeah so we’re starting to you know start making some warm intros and and start having some conversations.

James McWalter   

Its exciting. Yeah.

Bonnie Gurry

And you know they they see that this is a real gap in the Market. because there is just this flood of new green financial products. it’s part of what part of what we do at Green portfolios try to track all these new products and. Since the beginning of 2021. It’s just kind of exploded whether it’s bank accounts credit cards new investment funds ah mortgages insurance companies ah payment systems like there are so many new green financial products out there that it can be very hard to keep track of. And I think they realize that if as an investor who’s in this space day in day out. They’re having trouble keeping track of this ah from an you know from their firm’s point of view. Let alone their personal point of view I think they recognize that this is ah a problem. A lot of people are having and it’s a problem that. Particularly environmentally focused people are having so so yeah we’ve had a lot of really great conversations and we can almost tell immediately when we start talking with an investor ah 1 if they care about climate change like if it hits them in their heart and then. Then the conversation’s incredibly easy. They’re like oh I get what you’re doing this makes a ton of sense I myself would use this product or it’s someone who thinks climate change is well important. It’s not part of their core investment thesis and I think people who recognize how fundamental a change we are about to. Take part in because of climate change have they’ve built that into you know where they think they need to be investing and and and I think that’s smart I think a lot of our you know none of us envisioned how much covid was going to change our economy and society and we’re. Only now starting to understand how climate change is going to to change our our society as a whole  and I think the fact that the financial markets have quickly been adapting to this is is a sign of what’s to come.

James McWalter  

 No Absolutely and you know I think I’ve had some these kind of similar conversations and absolutely there’s this ah some get it more than others. but even the ones who don’t seem to get it as much 1 of the things I was got to ask them is like and even in your non you know climate focused Investments. . Should probably have a climate slide right? Even if it’s in the Appendix You know how are they going to react when a lot of their staff. Can’t come to work because of forest as fires. Whatever it may be so even just from ah like a risk profile. yeah even if you are a crm for you know hairdressers or whatever it may be ah you still need to care about. You know the downside risks that are going to just get worse in the next couple of decades.

Bonnie Gurry

Yeah I would absolutely agree with that. It’s It’s going to affect things in ways we hadn’t imagined and and I think it’s smart for any business and especially from a portfolio management point of view to at least have it on your radar of how things. How things might be affected and what what your downside risk is because I think a lot of people don’t know.

James McWalter   

Absolutely and I believe you also kind of came through like an accelerator in New York could you tell us a little bit about that experience.

Bonnie Gurry

Ah sure so we most recently went through the colbia ibm launch accelerator. Ah which was a really fantastic experience. It was run ah by staff at colbia university in conjunction with ibm so we had access to. Ibm watson and all of their kind of like internal data tools that they had as well as a lot of the key ibm staff that most of whom were sitting in in New York State some outside new york say but mostly new york and it was for somewhat recent graduates from new york. Ah schools. Ah but the the staff homey was just fantastic and really took a very focused approach in making sure that we were talking to customers understanding their needs just kind of real fundamental things that. Now that we have built it into our general practice have made such a difference. So ah so it was ah it was a great experience with ah a lot of really interesting startups most of whom were not with a green focus. Ah but in some ways we’re dealing with data so that was the core premise of all these different that the core. A factor that we all kind of had in common was we all were in some ways using data to and provide a better product for consers.  see it was a really great experience and we were 1 of the teams actually got a follow on funding which we were really excited about.

James McWalter   

And that’s very exciting. It is this kind of interesting kind of relationship between you know a corporate capital versus kind of more conventional kind of Vc Capital. it can definitely be this kind of. Boost to understanding how certain types of companies think and can kind of enhance the startup from there and yeah so sometimes actually you do see green washing in the space I know the shells of the world have a ton of ah you know Capital armss and so on and I’m not sure if they’re investing in a ton of clean energy. But.

James McWalter   

 and so it is this kind of balance. But yeah it makes sense that that was a great experience.

Bonnie Gurry

Yeah and I think a lot of these kind of smaller accelerators. Don’t get the same you know fanfare as the Y combinators or tech starst etc. but I I think they shouldn’t be overlooked at all you know they.

James McWalter   

No.

Bonnie Gurry

Can provide a lot of value and really especially at pivotal moments provide the kind of insight and support ah that you know it can be hard to access if you’re not 1 of the very few companies that like makes it into 1 of these huge accelerators.  I I have been. Since the beginning of this whole like startup journey I’ve been just so warmed and surprised by not only from the colbia team but just by if you go and ask people for help. How many people are willing to help you how many people are willing to open their rolodex or just you know give you time or advice and and I Think. Ah that kind of ecosystem ah can be tapped into a nber of ways and 1 of which is going through 1 of these smaller accelerators.

James McWalter   

Yeah and I’ve I’ve talked to somebody recently who was basically approached by a wesi partner to you know apply for their clean Very cool clean energy startup and they were just like like weissi’s great but like they don’t know enough about clean energy and what is particularly needed to get to that next level. But. Particular company trying to get to in terms of you know heat pp applied to buildings and so on and so they were definitely just more looking at kind of corporate Partners. You know theiemens of the world. This kind of thing to like really get into understanding of like supply chains. All these kind of things I think they joined I think Semens accelerate or something similar. So makes a ton of sense I Guess like you know you’ve kind of in this kind of community or you know at an accelerator you’re talking to other kind of companies that are tackling different aspects of the problem. You know you kind of look across the the climate space. You know where do you see kind of large opportunities that not enough people are looking at not enough people are trying to solve.

Bonnie Gurry

So  I Still think that there is a lot of potential out there in tapping into people’s willingness to personally fight climate change. You know you look at the data.

James McWalter   

So.

Bonnie Gurry

Especially for Gen Z and millennials and you know the the kinds of decisions people are making about their lives because of climate change where they live if they have a kid how how they go go to work I mean these are major lifestyle changes right? Not having kids is ah. A pretty big deal. and and the fact that we could be asking them to do other impactful things in a way that could make a difference I think that really hasn’t been fully. Ah. Utilize in some way. Yeah and I’m not quite sure. That’s something we’re trying to kind of tap into saying you know there’s other things you could be doing but I still think that in kind of the amount of work we need to do to remake our society ah to to fight this kind of existential problem. There are lots of people willing to help they just don’t know what to do and and I think that that there there’s something there that we haven’t fully ah you know utilized yet that the energy of people who who want to make a difference and and it’s not a small subset of the population. It’s a lot of the population. Ah. Want a better life for themselves and their kids and ah and I think there’s a lot of opportunity there I Really do.

James McWalter  

I agree fully with that I think of Saul griffiths who wrote rewiring America here’s this line about you know even just the is looking at rezoning and all the legal issues there. He’s like there’s a job even for the lawyers right in the future of of climate change and I think that.   I guess I think we have a pretty poor filter as of right now.  to get people to where they need to get to.  you know there’s these ah great emergent. You know online communities. You know my climate journey is 1 air miners work on climate you know a few others I’m sure people are shouting out at the podcast now because but. You know collectively these are maybe about thirty thousand people across all these now. These 30000 people are doing unbelievably phenomenal things and it was only three thousand last year right and so like the uprow has been just phenomenal. Even since I got involved in these communities. but like I feel this is an earth.

Bonnie Gurry

Moving.

James McWalter   Easy 2 or 3 million people in the United states alone who would very very happily dedicate some or a lot of the resources not just at work. But you know in their spare time to things that moved a needle and some of that’s activism but some of it again. Is you know I guess the lawyer example but like pro Bono work around. Ah you know getting a solar plant. Ah. Permitting process and cutting that process from 6 months to five months you know even that extra one month has such a profound effect on the scale of decades and I guess you know what are the?  and I also struggle with this but I guess what are the kind of improved filters that get people into the right places to do things. You know government is a pretty blunt instrent. Yeah there’s obviously a few bills that do some of this stuff kind of in congress at the moment you know startups are trying to make build cool things but also have to make yeah direct money out of it and then activism has its own ups and downs as is philanthropy. it does seem like there needs to be this other thing that directs people.  I guess ah you know what are some of those programs you know like you ah you work for America for a year the foreign foreign these kind of things so something that maybe like that for climate specifically might be needed.

Bonnie Gurry

Which I believe is in the current legislation that has not yet been passed  is ah you know ah allowing younger people to to work for a year for the government. Ah. And different capacities fighting climate change. But I think a lot of it is also almost educational I think a lot of people don’t think that their job or their skill set could be applied to fighting climate change because I don’t know they’re not an engineer or who knows what? . But that’s not I mean 1 ah 1 of the things that we are first hire is probably once we we are really up and running is is a copy editor right? like you wouldn’t think of that as someone who is fighting climate change but but they can be so you know there’s a lot of different jobs available in this space and I would I would say.

James McWalter   

Right.

Bonnie Gurry

Almost every job could have a climate aspect to it. and I and I I think just there is a lot that can be learned from the 1 I hate to keep going back to covid but when you see the nber of people that dropped everything they were doing to say I am going to work to fight this disease so that millions can can live. If we could have that same kind of mindset change that you know your whatever you’re researching right? now your knowledge could be applied to to fighting climate change. You know I think that that is just something that’s going to take a little bit for people to learn and understand and. Every time I meet someone who says they don’t know what to do with their life. Yeah I’m like I’ll tell you let me tell you? Yeah whatever you’re doing just start digging and figure out how you can start being a part of the solution to this this huge problem.

James McWalter   

It’s also you know when I look at online places online and obviously data is getting too deep in some of these things but is a tremendous amount of ah or tremendous lack of hope sometimes from comments. It’s like you know the world’s on fire like it’s already done. We’ve already done those things.

Bonnie Gurry

We have. No.

James McWalter   

And you know sometimes in an anonymous or less anonymous way I’ll be like well you know this is working and this is working and they’re all small things right? but there are literally like so many people working dedicating their entire lives to those things and like in the nicest possible way I’m like you know you too ah could also join these efforts and again doesn’t have to be a private company.

Bonnie Gurry

And he.

James McWalter   

 again I think like the role of activism and and and you know people on the streets and all these things are also super important. But the only way I guess to get past the spare often is through action and maybe the action is not perfect and you’re slightly moving. You know you want to move North and you’re slightly moving Northeast and you know might not be perfect.

Bonnie Gurry

 despairing Yes always always and and there is a lot of hope in action and you know that the chapter has not been written yet about.

James McWalter   

But it’s little better than kind of just sitting in the middle you know sitting on the ground and like not feeling it and despairing and so yeah so always action above despair I guess.

Bonnie Gurry

What is going to Happen. We don’t fully understand Ah how our climate works We have good models to estimate that things could turn out to be better than expected. They could also turn out to be worse I’m not going to lie. But if we don’t try you know where are we going to be at so  and. And I think we at least need to try and so I think there there is a lot of hope and in joining these types of communities and learning that you do have something to contribute or even just trying to do something small like making sure that your money is not contributing to the problem.  those actions matter and they add up to. To a larger movement pushing the entire. You know the entire solution forward.

James McWalter   

No absolutely. yeah I mean and that that’s a phenomenal place to kind of ended on so before we finish out you know is there anything I should have asked you about but did not.

Bonnie Gurry

I’m trying to think of that we I think we really touched on everything we’re working on right now I would love to just say that we will be ah launching kind of a beta version later this year ah but then for general users and 2022 we will have a. Ah live version. You can join so. We’d love if you joined our waitlist greenportfolio dot com back slash waitlist and shortly as I mentioned before we are hoping to start hiring soon for a variety of roles some financial some technical  but also some not. So we’d love if you’re interested and love what we’re doing to join us.

James McWalter   

Absolutely and we’ll include those links in the show notes. Thank you very much bonnie. This has been great.

Bonnie Gurry

Thank you so much for having me.

Stopping Batteries Catching Fire – E67

Great to chat with Brian Morin, CEO at Soteria Battery Innovation Group who make lithium-ion batteries dramatically safer! We discussed battery safety, how battery explosions lead to major recalls of EV batteries, what certification and safety tests are needed, licensing consortium models and more!

https://carbotnic.com/soteria

Download Podcast Here: https://plinkhq.com/i/1518148418

Remember, If you want to support the podcast there are two amazing ways!

  1. Subscribe to the Carbotnic patreon
  2. Rate 5 stars on Apple

Thanks so much! 

James

The Epic Quest for Cheap Solar Energy – E66

Great to chat with Matt Campbell, CEO and Founder at Terabase Energy! Terabase accelerates the deployment of solar power plants! We discussed the advantages of rapid characterizing the site for solar power plants, the use of GIS, the exciting technologies that cheap solar energy enables, the relationship between local developers and big players in the energy sector and more!

https://carbotnic.com/terabase

Download Podcast Here: https://plinkhq.com/i/1518148418

Remember, If you want to support the podcast there are two amazing ways!

  1. Subscribe to the Carbotnic patreon  
  2. Rate 5 stars on Apple

Thanks so much! 

James

Plastic in Concrete?! – E65

Great to chat with Sebastian Sajoux, CEO at Arqlite, a recycling technology company developing high-efficiency materials, made from 100% recycled plastic! We discussed how they create Smart gravel from hard to recycle plastic, how a focus on local solutions avoids CO2 emissions for concrete, regulations to remove the plastics from the environment, the need for government incentives to speed up the process to help the environment and more! 

https://carbotnic.com/arqlite

Download Podcast Here: https://plinkhq.com/i/1518148418

Remember, If you want to support the podcast there are two amazing ways!

  1. Subscribe to the Carbotnic patreon  
  2. Rate 5 stars on Apple

Thanks so much! 

James

Net-zero energy communities – E64

Great to chat with Sean Rodrigues, CEO at Sky Blue Impact, Sky Blue Impact develops and arranges the funding for net-zero energy social housing communities in the USA and large scale net-zero energy communities in Africa! We discussed how to provide affordable housing addressing major climate issues, advantages the developing world has by starting with new tech from scratch and more!

https://carbotnic.com/skyblue

Download Podcast Here: https://plinkhq.com/i/1518148418

Remember, If you want to support the podcast there are two amazing ways!

  1. Subscribe to the Carbotnic patreon  
  2. Rate 5 stars on Apple

Thanks so much! 
James

What I Have Learned From Carbotnic – E63

Shorter episode this week as I am on vacation! I discuss what I have learned hosting the podcast over the last year, the podcast’s future direction and some personal news!

Remember, If you want to support the podcast there are two amazing ways!

  1. Subscribe to the Carbotnic patreon  
  2. Rate 5 stars on Apple

Thanks so much! 
James

Charge Your Car While You Eat! – E62

Great to chat with Rebecca Wolkoff, CTor at ChargeNet Stations, a cleantech SaaS company creating the EV charging experience of the future using renewable energy in fast food parking lots! We discussed the carbon footprint of solar energy storage, the lack of incentives to export the energy, how smart software can enable low energy prices, the biggest changes in the energy space and more!

https://carbotnic.com/chargenet

Download Podcast Here: https://plinkhq.com/i/1518148418

Transforming waste into hydroponic nutrients – E 61

Great to chat with Tinia Pina, Founder & CEO of Re-Nuble, a company that uses organic cycling science technology to transform unrecoverable vegetative food byproducts into a platform of sustainable technologies for soilless farming! We discussed post-production farm waste, regional challenges in food waste, disconnection between consumers and farmers, VC investments and more!

https://carbotnic.com/renuble

Download Podcast Here: https://plinkhq.com/i/1518148418

Carbon and climate toolset – E60

Great to chat with Taylor Francis, Co-Founder at Watershed, Watershed helps companies get to net zero carbon faster! We discussed climate as a data problem, how the data can enable the right action, climate governance, carbon emissions in the supply chain and more! 

https://carbotnic.com/watershed

Download Podcast Here: https://plinkhq.com/i/1518148418

For the Love of Garbage! – E59

Great to chat with Oakley Jennings-Fast, Director of Circular Economy at Smart Waste Inc, a startup that offers sustainable waste management solutions! We discussed the importance of longevity and repairability in the goods we buy, teaching circular economy through decluttering, garbage as a resource, the importance of calling your recycling hauler and more! 

https://carbotnic.com/smartwaste

Download Podcast Here: https://plinkhq.com/i/1518148418

Oakleys’ podcast  https://levelupplanet.com/podcast