“Sustainability is an economic imperative. Companies that use less to create more show greater sustainability; as a business, for the environment and for the world as a whole.” Gerrit Heyns, Partner Osmosis Investment -ranked high on the annual list of ‘The Top 50 People Influencing Global Finance’ (2013) published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
EMG spoke with Gerrit Heyns – ranked high on the annual list of ‘The Top 50 People Influencing Global Finance’ (2013) published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. This list, which includes CEOs and CFOs of some of the world’s most prominent financial institutions and heads of state, has the objective of predicting who will be having the greatest influence on global finance in the coming year.
And it’s not “hug yourself, feel good” stuff either. Sustainability is an economic imperative. Companies that are more resource efficient generate greater shareholder value and have done so for many many years.
What is your motivation for sustainable investment?
We’re not environmentalists or activists. We don’t tell a company what they should be doing, or how they should be doing it. We’re finance people. Our objective is to identify and capture investment returns.
The motivation for Osmosis had its beginnings in the Stern Report on Climate Change that came out in 2007. What was clear from this document was that there is going to be a lot of money – billions and billions – that will be put into development and deployment of products, processes and services to address the sustainability needs of a changing world over the next 40 or 50 years.
It’s hard to predict the challenges of tomorrow, but we do know that the world population is growing at a rate of one billion every 12 years.
The highly demanding aspirational new middle class is growing at an even faster rate. Resource, food, housing, land and water constraint is already impacting if not challenging every one of us in some manner.
Our aim is to identify the businesses that understand their particular challenges with respect to resource constraint. We are looking for the companies that are working to address those challenges proactively. It’s not about cool technology or new service methods.