Bringing the battle against greenhouse gas emissions to
investors, Ian Monroe, 35, is a breath of clean air for the
hedge fund industry. The cofounding president and chief
sustainability officer of Etho Capital, a
sustainable-investment firm launched last June, has developed a
new method for screening companies based on environmental,
social and governance (ESG) principles that will form the basis
for a hedge fund to be opened later this year.
San Franciscobased Monroe, who holds bachelors
and masters degrees in Earth systems from Stanford
University, where he teaches courses on sustainability, has
dedicated his life to finding solutions to
climate change. After finishing his masters in 2004,
he worked as a climate consultant on energy and development
projects in more than two dozen countries across Africa, Asia,
the Americas and Europe with such institutions as the United
Nations, the U.S. State Department and the World Bank Group.
Monroe thought direct engagement with the public was lacking,
so in 2012 he helped to create a gamelike online service called
that lets people compete with each other to reduce their carbon
footprints. That year the Redwood Valley, California, native
also began collecting and analyzing data on companies
greenhouse gas emissions to estimate the amount of pollution
associated with Oroeco users investment portfolios.
In 2014, Monroe, who still serves as CEO of Oroeco, started
Etho Capital with Conor Platt, founder and CIO of
Pittsburgh-headquartered hedge fund firm Confluence Capital
Management, to bring mathematical rigor to sustainable
investing. Last October, drawing on Platts investment
know-how and Monroes models and data, the pair launched
the Etho Climate Leadership Index, which tries to identify the
most carbon-efficient companies in every industry; the next
month they opened an exchange-traded fund that tracks the
index. Ethos hedge fund, which will target 10 to 15
percent annual returns, plans to take long positions in climate
leaders while short-selling industry laggards to create an
essentially carbon-free portfolio.
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