Green.org sat down with James Gunkel, a real estate and tech entrepreneur who has a vision for financing a sustainable future.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I am a c-level executive and founder of 5 unicorns, investment banking executive of royal families, billionaires, presidents and prime ministers, have a background in STEM research and public advisory, an education in artificial intelligence, data science, finance, economics, statistics and general business, and a track-record of entrepreneurial successes resulting in more than $1 trillion of wealth creation across information technology, aerospace and defense, healthcare, financial services and internet media sectors.
What would you do with $1 Billion dollars?
$1 billion represents an incredible opportunity to lead meaningful change in our world and improve the lives of many people. Using the capital, I would likely engage in a series of social impact investments to foster constructive improvements where help is needed most or where the improvements can bring about the most public good, and then use investment returns to fund additional social impact investments. My investment targets would likely include high ESG impact startups, clean and renewable energy, affordable healthcare, agriculture and water desalination.
Why do you think sustainability is such an important topic today?
With the ever increasing human population of Earth, sustainability is crucial to preserving the very fabric that underpins any developed society. Daily life of all people is affected in one way or another by the implications of sustainability principles and in order to continue building humanity greater and further, from technological disruption to enhancing our standards of living, sustainability is key to a brighter future.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
My vision for the finance industry in the next 10 years includes more inclusive access to financial education and resources for the everyday person. By building our population to improve their personal finance skills, the economy would become sustainably stronger and members of the public would gain improved rates of savings, decreased levels of debt and increased rates of asset accumulation. Financial education should be more broadly included in school curriculum in my opinion.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
The everyday person can make a difference by utilizing their ordinary skills or passions for the greater good. You are able to take what you do for a living, what you are educated in, or what you love, such as your job, degree or a hobby, and find ways to apply them to make meaningful change for the good of others, and genuinely enjoy making an impact. If adopted on a large scale, thus would grow rates of volunteering and philanthropy, and empower communities.
James, thank you for sharing your vision for financing a sustainable future.