Be cool: Change the world, make a profit

Scott Jagow Jun 8, 2007

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

SCOTT JAGOW: A British company is combining two things that don’t seem to go together: rock concerts and global warming. This firm, Global Cool, was started earlier this year by a former trader at the hedge fund Man Group. His name is Julian Knight. His company is part charity, part investment fund. Martin Waller has been writing about this for the Times of London.

MARTIN WALLER: They invest in a number of different green areas. And their latest fund, which could be as much as $100 million, is aimed at investing in music festivals. They’re already involved in music. They advice festivals on how to reduce their carbon footprint, they have the support of a number of well-known people in the music industry and acting industry — bands like The Killers, Scissor Sisters, Leonardo DiCaprio. The investment side, a certain proportion, is given back to the investors as their profits and the rest of it goes to the charitable side of the business.

JAGOW: What’s the connection with rock concerts and global warming?

WALLER: Julian’s aware that he has to sell the idea of global warming to young people and the best way of doing that is standing on the stage with someone like The Killers or whoever, stand on the stage and say ‘hey, this is a really good idea.’ You’re talking to thousands and thousands of young kids. They also advise various events, the Mandela concert, they’re talking to Al Gore on the forthcoming one in July on how to reduce their carbon footprint. There are a number of ways of doing that. For example, arranging for shared travel to a venue even or using green forms of equipment. You can understand a big business like that has a huge carbon footprint.

JAGOW: And what is the overall goal of this hybrid company?

WALLER: Well when I spoke to Julian I said ‘Well, it’s all very well, a lot of well-meaning Western teenagers switching off their mobile phone chargers once they’re finished’— this is the sort of basic stuff he’s talking about — ‘but when you’ve got economies like China and India growing the speed they are and putting out the carbon emissions they are, aren’t you just really sort of a very, very small part of the story?’ And he said his plan is to expand into China and India and attract middle-class investors there by using events such as the Bollywood Film Festival he’s involved with to spread the message the same way they’ve used rock concerts and rock festivals. His ideal aim, he has some I have to say, some extremely high-blown plans for saving the planet and I have to take that with a huge pinch of salt, only this is a very serious investment fund. This is a fund which is going to take your money and invest it. It’s not some fly-by-night scheme that’ll disappear. It’s a serious business. But he is a very driven man and he eventually talks about spreading the Global Cool message across the planet

JAGOW: Alright Martin thanks so much.

WALLER: That’s great, thanks a lot.

JAGOW: Martin Waller of the Times of London. In Los Angeles, I’m Scott Jagow. Thanks for tuning in and have a great weekend.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

SCOTT JAGOW: A British company is combining two things that don’t seem to go together: rock concerts and global warming. This firm, Global Cool, was started earlier this year by a former trader at the hedge fund Man Group. His name is Julian Knight. His company is part charity, part investment fund. Martin Waller has been writing about this for the Times of London.

MARTIN WALLER: They invest in a number of different green areas. And their latest fund, which could be as much as $100 million, is aimed at investing in music festivals. They’re already involved in music. They advice festivals on how to reduce their carbon footprint, they have the support of a number of well-known people in the music industry and acting industry — bands like The Killers, Scissor Sisters, Leonardo DiCaprio. The investment side, a certain proportion, is given back to the investors as their profits and the rest of it goes to the charitable side of the business.

JAGOW: What’s the connection with rock concerts and global warming?

WALLER: Julian’s aware that he has to sell the idea of global warming to young people and the best way of doing that is standing on the stage with someone like The Killers or whoever, stand on the stage and say ‘hey, this is a really good idea.’ You’re talking to thousands and thousands of young kids. They also advise various events, the Mandela concert, they’re talking to Al Gore on the forthcoming one in July on how to reduce their carbon footprint. There are a number of ways of doing that. For example, arranging for shared travel to a venue even or using green forms of equipment. You can understand a big business like that has a huge carbon footprint.

JAGOW: And what is the overall goal of this hybrid company?

WALLER: Well when I spoke to Julian I said ‘Well, it’s all very well, a lot of well-meaning Western teenagers switching off their mobile phone chargers once they’re finished’— this is the sort of basic stuff he’s talking about — ‘but when you’ve got economies like China and India growing the speed they are and putting out the carbon emissions they are, aren’t you just really sort of a very, very small part of the story?’ And he said his plan is to expand into China and India and attract middle-class investors there by using events such as the Bollywood Film Festival he’s involved with to spread the message the same way they’ve used rock concerts and rock festivals. His ideal aim, he has some I have to say, some extremely high-blown plans for saving the planet and I have to take that with a huge pinch of salt, only this is a very serious investment fund. This is a fund which is going to take your money and invest it. It’s not some fly-by-night scheme that’ll disappear. It’s a serious business. But he is a very driven man and he eventually talks about spreading the Global Cool message across the planet

JAGOW: Alright Martin thanks so much.

WALLER: That’s great, thanks a lot.

JAGOW: Martin Waller of the Times of London. In Los Angeles, I’m Scott Jagow. Thanks for tuning in and have a great weekend.

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