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April 16, 2008: 4:33 AM EDT
Great green careers
Earth friendly jobs aren't just about organic farming and installing solar panels. Meet the carbon traders, eco-bankers and corporate climate strategists shaping the new green economy.
By Michael V. Copeland, senior writer (Fortune) -- Steve Vassallo spends his days looking for the next Steve Jobs. Not for the computer industry, it has its already, but for the clean-tech world in which Vassallo, a venture capitalist, invests. "I haven't found him or her yet," says Vassallo, a principal with Silicon Valley-based Foundation Capital. "They are probably still in their cubicles some place doing their IT job, or in a garage with an idea." Vassallo, and VCs like him have been pouring money into clean-tech companies in recent years -- $2.2 billion in 2007 -- in the hopes of finding the next leader and the next technology that can transform the biggest industries on the planet, from energy to finance to manufacturing. The opportunity is huge, not just for investors but for those who want to be a part of the green economy vanguard. A report from the American Solar Energy Society estimates that 8.5 million people worked in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries in 2006. The Apollo Alliance, a non-profit coalition of people from business, labor and the environmental movement working toward energy independence, estimates another three to five million green jobs could be created in the United States alone in the next decade. But green collar jobs are not just about organic farming, installing solar panels or weather-stripping. For in the context of what Vassallo and his peers do, green collar jobs are also about building entirely new businesses and upending markets. Fortune found five people already making their mark in the green economy. Are they the next tech titans? Perhaps, but it's early days yet. What is sure, is that each of the people profiled here is forging a new path in their workplace, whether its retail banking or the Internet, and are a model for many more great green careers to come. The carbon trader
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"We advise a hedge fund in the U.. "As a consultant you make recommendations. It might be a wind farm in India or a methane-capture landfill in the United Kingdom." she 2 of 4 16/04/2008 3:13 PM . Page's job there entailed advising large companies about what they could do to reduce their carbon footprint for reasons of efficiency. For a guy based in a country." That's exactly what Quam helped do in her 18 years at UnitedHealth." Rau says. That's where Rau comes in. carbon sequestration.S. Those that exceed their limit must buy allowances from those that emit less. according to a Deutsche Bank report. The eco-investor When Lois Quam. 2008 http://cnnmoney. who as Yahoo's new director of climate change and energy strategy spent her first week on the job in the Amazon basin checking out hydroelectric projects. economy and goodwill. hold your breath and cross you fingers that they follow through. "We are participating in the growth of a new asset class. the market could grow to $500 billion by 2050.clickability. "What hit me over the head is that this space needs executives who know how to bring things to scale.printthis. is all but certain to come to the United States in the next five years. and its private equity fund of funds. and is also the most valuable place for me to use my skills. they needed to find a person who could first tell them the amount of emissions they had to offset. or buy the credits and resell them later. Fortune 500). and then figure out the best plan to reach that goal." The corporate climate strategist After Yahoo co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo decided they wanted the Internet company to go carbon-neutral by the end of 2007. As a former consultant at the Rocky Mountain Institute." Already the total of those assets in play is a market worth north of $6 billion by most estimates. Carbon trading. Companies or other organization are issued permits to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. The person turned out to be Christina Page.Apr. He helps put together financing for projects that can produce carbon credits to sell. Fortune 500) Ovations business. that doesn't yet have a carbon market. "The scale [of green technology] is so transformative there won't be any industry that is not affected. If you can do something that reduces greenhouse emissions. Yahoo ( YHOO. former CEO of UnitedHealth Group's (UNH. "It's the job of the future. and then into big companies." Rau says. the United States." Quam says. she figured she would sit on the board of some eco-minded non-profit. "I am convinced the green economy both represents the best business opportunity of my generation. Rau is the founder of Climate Wedge. So Quam took her expertise to investment bank Piper Jaffray last summer and started building its alternative energy/clean technology investment business while overseeing health care services investments). The idea for carbon trading is simple enough. renewable energy and the re-tooling of existing industries. active in Europe and Japan. you can produce an asset. She and her team focus on four areas: energy efficiency. to grow. Quam's job now is to identify small and medium-sized companies that can use Piper Jaffray's help. And as carbon trading expands in the U. and other institutions that invest in the landfills." Quam says. Alex Rau is very busy carbon trader.. under Page's direction.K.Great green careers . an advisory firm that helps companies and financial institutions around the world play in the emerging carbon markets. Planet warming greenhouse gas emissions get capped at certain level by a government or international body. "Who know how to take things that didn't exist and make them first into companies.com/pt/cpt?action=cpt&title=Great. wanted to get into the environmental world. and the rest of the world. helping grow the company's public and seniors health services businesses from $400 million in revenue to more than $30 billion. ultimately invested $2 million to buy emission credits from a hydroelectric project she identified in Brazil and a wind farm in India to achieve its carbon neutral status. 16.
For now." Cartland says. "We have experienced a massive upsurge in climate change and energy jobs over the past 12 months." After raising $25 million in venture capital himself. would make the rest of us all very happy. but we have an edge because we got there first. without the hockey-stick growth curve VCs like to see. and that's what a lot of green businesses are . Liu is sticking to making loans in the Bay Area. United States and Dubai. The environmental banker When Peter Liu looked at funding for green businesses he saw a gap he could fill. says. In turn. The green recruiter Andrew Cartland figures he would have left the recruiting world if he had stayed in his job placing people in tech or telecom positions.clickability. Liu launched New Resource Bank 18 months ago in San Francisco. money was hard to come by. Page is focused on examining all the processes that comprise the company's business and looking for ways to make them more energy efficient." Not unless one of those new hires comes up with some good answers to our climate ills.printthis.emerging businesses." Cartland says. If you were a startup you had a shot at getting money from a venture capitalist. "We don't do mortgages. tripled between 2006 and 2007. Liu has attracted customers from all over the world (they use online banking) and now has $145 million in deposits. Acre doubled its revenue in the past year. analysts and project managers. Liu is now extending credit and making loans to a variety of green businesses ranging from an organic cheese maker to a company with a new solar panel technology to eco-developers. Digg Facebook 3 of 4 16/04/2008 3:13 PM ." A survey by Acre Resources found that the number of specialists working in climate change. Not only can I help influence people within this company to think more about energy and the environment." Page says. It must be one of the fastest growing job sectors in the world at the moment. It also means pushing out green tips to Yahoo's users. and we don't see any reason why it would slow." At Yahoo. "The traditional approach for credit from banks is they look at anything that is emerging as risky. as opposed to venture capital. "It's all about doing better with less for longer." Liu says. 2008 http://cnnmoney. although it might be bad for Cartland's business. That means building better data centers in Washington state and installing an energy monitoring system so that every Yahoo employee know how much energy a laptop or an entire building consumes..Great green careers . corporate social responsibility. but he has plans to expand first in California and then to other states. "The opportunity at Yahoo was the logical next step for me. And business is booming.. "Credit is probably the most conservative part of the capital chain.com/pt/cpt?action=cpt&title=Great. But if you were an established green business. "On corporate and social responsibility competition is growing from other recruiting firms getting into the business. "Most of those are in the United Kingdom. A full service retail bank that offers the usual checking and savings.Apr. including carbon traders. sustainable development and climate change." Liu says. There is one banking move he doesn't intend to make anytime soon. sending Cartland on his own hiring spree. 16. but as a company we have the opportunity also influence Yahoo's 500 million users worldwide. But instead he started his own firm. it was more the case of anticipating the market. and so we didn't have much competition. which. London-based Acre Resources. "When we set up shop four years ago. Acre specializes in finding people to fill jobs in the burgeoning fields of environmental sciences.
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