Investing in a Sustainable World: Why Green Is the New Color of Money on Wall Street

By Matthew J. Kiernan | Go to book overview

Changing Finance and
Financing Change:
The Genesis of This Book

In one sense, this book has taken more than 20 years to write; it is the product of three different sets of experiences, dating back at least until 1987. At that time, I was a senior partner in the strategy consulting practice of KPMG, the global accounting and consulting firm. I was part of a team working on a billion-dollar privatization project in the forest products sector. (This was so long ago that a billion dollars was actually a reasonably significant amount of money!) The transaction came very, very close to collapsing, primarily because of community and governmental concerns about the project’s potentially adverse environmental and social impacts. Although I had completed a Master’s degree in environmental studies 15 years previously, this was actually my first practical, real-world indication that environmental and social issues could readily become critical business and financial issues as well.

The second set of experiences that directly catalyzed this book occurred several years later. I had left KPMG and had the unique opportunity to become a director with what is now the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in 1989 and led by Swiss industrialist and billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny, the WBCSD had been given the somewhat daunting task of representing “the private sector” and advising the Secretary General of the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In short order, Schmidheiny had managed to assemble a “dream team” of global industry titans:

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