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Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy Paperback – September 26, 2013
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"Everything Jigar has done proves that profits in energy aren’t just made in dirty fuels. Thanks to entrepreneurs like Jigar, climate change solutions are attracting investors, greener jobs are being created, and industries are saving big money on energy costs." Sir Richard Branson Founder, Virgin Group
"...this book provides essential insight to how mainstream capital can flow into climate friendlier ways to meet modern electricity needs while making compelling financial returns." Strive Masiyiwa Founder, Econet Wireless/ Board Rockefeller Foundation
"Shah shows that a new massive wealth opportunity is at our fingertips linking sustainability and economic development." Carl Pope Former Executive Director, Sierra Club
"Jigar Shah is a force of nature! Here he recounts his unique journey--as entrepreneur, investor and nature’s defender. His outlook: a fast–changing world where enterprise places greater value on our climate and society. A timely book from a Thinker and Doer, both!" Ann Goodman, Ph.D. Co-founder of the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future
"Jigar is the fuel that moves our world round, cleanly, transporting us and our hopes to a better place where big ideas are boldly stated. Where Big Oil becomes Big Sun. His is the stuff that powers us forward . . . to a smarter, richer future with a thesis that would have us find the next “industrial revolution”...today, and with bigger impact. No inverter required. This work is electrifying, direct, and current." Chase Weir Chief Executive Officer of Distributed Sun, LLC
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As the title of the book indicates, in "Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy," Jigar Shah sets out to explain where profitable opportunities are available to deal with climate change.
He starts by telling the story of SunEdison, an international solar service company he founded. Shah was one of the first entrepreneurs to attract mainstream capital to solar installations, and he did it not by using new technology, but a new business model, power purchase agreements. This is infrastructure as service.
Shah explores similar opportunities, where success will depend on structure and business-model discipline, most importantly using existing technology. He acknowledges that his experience as the first CEO of the Carbon War Room enabled him to go well beyond solar energy. Accordingly, he sees opportunities in multiple areas: energy, transportation and shipping, agriculture, water, and building and industrial efficiency.
Shah offers valuable insights in how to create a viable business that is scalable. He states these pragmatic goals:
* Solving pressing problems for consumers
* Yielding impressive risk-adjusted returns for investors
* Generating both development and economic growth
* Creating local capacity that is sustainable and does not require the continual interjection of outside firms to fix problems
Shah does not offer theoretical solutions, but ones that are practical and achievable. He asks how existing technology can be deployed at scale to achieve results all of us will find desirable and profitable. He is also realistic enough to point out where sensible solutions have not yet been deployed, even though the numbers are compelling. The key question is who pays upfront costs, how they can be financed and who captures the cost savings.
Some of Shah's notable observations, which are admittedly more impressive in context:
* Successful entrepreneurs focus on solving real problems rather than making money.
* Infrastructure is very different from the transactions marketplace.
* Business model innovation is always about execution.
* Make investors comfortable at all costs.
* Going after smart, expensive capital can strategically position you to attract more investors. Welcome the scrutiny to strengthen your business plan.
* Find out what your customers really want. What motivates decision makers?
* The right customers will lead to investors taking another look at your business proposition.
* The world wants change. What's missing is leadership.
* Governments can set rules, level the playing field, outline a roadmap and be first-movers. "All of the above" is not a plan.
I appreciate Shah's observations on karma and his advice to hire the best people, even if it stretches the budget. I found his call to enlist 100,000 advocates and activists inspiring. And I love his conclusion, quoting McKinsey, that climate change is a business opportunity masked as a crisis.
I highly recommend this book to entrepreneurs, investors, money managers, concerned citizens, and elected officials.
In order to tackle the challenge of renovation, Shah teamed up with Sir Richard Branson and the Carbon War Room (CWR) to show existing companies the cost effectiveness of energy efficiency. In truth, most CEOs are more committed to their bottom lines than to cleaning up the environment. When clean energy operations save them money they don’t hesitate to hop on board. Even climate change deniers understand the almighty dollar.
Shah’s view of climate change as anything but a crisis is refreshing and inspiring. He is not marketing a theory. He is revealing a proven strategy which is currently providing clean energy solutions worldwide. Shah’s common sense approach combined with his conversational tone make for a captivating and easy read. “Creating Climate Wealth” should be required reading for every human on planet Earth. There is a future and it’s up to us to create it.
Those are important lessons I took from this book. Even though oil prices have come down and sector costs are different compared to 2012, this doesn't weaken the arguments made for important things like government leadership and the need to change our reliance on infrastructures that are simply not built to last another 50 years.
The book can also be used as a motivation to join a local initiative, get involved in clean energy production or energy efficiency as there is still much to be won.