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Leading Voices in Global Sustainability

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Matthew McGraw

Managing Director - Anthropocene Ventures

10 Questions to Change The World

October 2022

How do you think climate change and the global sustainability agenda will
impact your industry over the next 3-5 years?

Well, I work in climate investing, so I am at the epicentre of climate change and global sustainability agenda! I think my specific niche within the venture world is going to grow substantially to meet the challenge over the next 5 to 10 years. It already is.

What is one ‘sustainability hack’ you’d recommend to an organisation wanting
to transform into a more sustainable operation?

Just start measuring. Most companies just don’t track E.S.G. metrics like they do financial KPI’s. Don’t get me started on the thousand plus frameworks that you could use but just choose one and get measuring. That’ll give clarity on where you’re at and therefore give us some directional hint at where you should go.

Just start measuring. Most companies just don’t track E.S.G. metrics like they do financial KPI’s

Why have you embraced sustainability in your professional career?

Sold my last company in 2015 and basically retired into angel investing and running an incubator out of a few commercial properties that my wife and I own. She decided at that time to go back to school to get a degree in climate science, so it became our pillow talk. By the time an old VC friend of mine asked if I wanted to start a climate fund the choice was pretty obvious.

What are some of the wins you have achieved in your career to date?

By the time an old VC friend of mine asked if I wanted to start a climate fund the choice was pretty obvious. 

I honestly have too many “right place right time” stories to go into and a brief interview, starting with being born to parents who loved me in America in the late 20th century! But right now with our fund, I just want it back companies that are going to fundamentally shift our economy towards being more in harmony with the earth's ecology, and more equitable for the people on the planet, and do it with a culture of joy surrounding the hard work we have to tackle.

What do you want to have achieved before you retire?

I’m not wired to think about life this way. I really mean that, I’m not just trying to get out of answering the question. I’m happy pretty much every day in my life with my family and my work, so I guess just continuing that.

What advice would you give for organisations looking to start or advance on their sustainability journey?

Easy, look at climatebase.org! Start reading some climate blogs. I really think working in climate is the way to go – it’s gonna be the largest growth market in the history of humanity so it’s not like there’s a shortage of jobs.

Who do you go to for inspiration in this space?

I really think working in climate is the way to go – it’s gonna be the largest growth market in the history of humanity so it’s not like there’s a shortage of jobs. 

My wife… As a policy and student of the climate crises she serves up a lot of challenges. I get to go look at companies that can solve for them every day just to be able to go back to her and “solved!”

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How do you offset your own footprint?

Oooof. We have 6 kids, so we start from a carbon footprint deficit lol!

 

But in actuality we live a fairly low impact lifestyle. We mostly eat food grown locally, and eat vegetarian at home. We mostly walk or take mass transit. We don’t buy a lot of disposable things – we’re a nearly zero plastic household. It’s a privileged life to be clear. Not a lot of people have the mental space to make these decisions, or the $ to be able to execute them.

What is your one ‘guilty / non-eco’ pleasure? (that you can’t live without)

Travel, full stop.

If you had to choose one person, organisation or community to lead the world in sustainability, who would it be and why?

My wife. She’s infinitely curious, has a moral centre like no one I’ve ever met, and has the integrity to back it up. And she’s no BS straight shooter, but at the end of the day she also has so much compassion and empathy for everyone that’s not a jerk. Jerks better watch out actually.

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Are you our next Leading Voice?

If you have a story to tell, we want to tell it…

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"If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it. In my lifetime I have witnessed a terrible decline. In yours you could - and should - see a wonderful recovery.”

 

-​ Sir David Attenborough