Complex Made Simple

Climate change: A profitable business opportunity, as these entrepreneurs prove

While climate change is often seen as an environmental phenomenon that threatens our planet, some entrepreneurs have deemed it an ideal investment opporutnity.

The advent of climate change has created entirely new industries From solar energy to electric vehicles, the potential for business is limitless Here are 4 billionaires that made their fortune by capitalizing on climate change

Climate change first hit the front pages of newspapers 30 years or so back. Three decades later, we’re still struggling with coming to terms with it. In fact, some people still refuse to acknowledge its existence, or at least downplay its impact. 

On the other hand, you have millionaires and billionaires who have fully embraced it as a reality, and in fact made their life’s fortune from climate change-based entrepreneurship. 

Here are some of the world’s richest green businessmen. (Net worth values are collected from multiple sources, primarily from Forbes profiles)

Elon Musk: CEO and co-founder of Tesla – Net Worth: $36 billion

One of the most prominent names in the fight against climate change, Elon Musk has made a fortune from his electric car manufacturing company Tesla. 

While he was already a millionaire after co-founding PayPal, it was Tesla and other green businesses that launched him into billionaire realm. Musk’s net worth is $36 billion today, receiving a boost after the automaker’s earnings report of Q4 for 2019 was released last week

Today, Tesla boasts some of the highest EV (electric vehicle) sales in the world, and its Model 3 is the world’s best-selling EV

Wang Chuanfu: Founder of BYD – Net worth: $4.6 billionWhile this one is a bit of a rule bend, given that BYD is primarily an ICE (internal combustion engine) automaker, the company is China’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer today, and one of the companies at the forefront of the EV movement in Asia. 

A chemist and pioneer with an entrepreneurial spirit, Wang Chuanfu led his company to adopt forward-oriented philosphies and technologies, which led his company to get ahead in fields like EVs. 

In an interview with CNBC in 2011, he said: “As petrol was set to create an (environmental) problem, we needed to start developing electric cars. The future of electric cars in China is very bright.”

Anthony Pratt: Executive Chairman of Visy Asia-Pacific – Net worth: $7.5 billion

While not exactly the man behind Australia’s largest private company, Visy Asia-Pacific, Anthony Pratt is one of the richest men in his home country. Set up by his grandfather in 1948, Visy Asia-Pacific is the world’s largest privately-held 100% recycled paper and packaging company today. According to Forbes, he also owns US firm Pratt Industries, the biggest U.S. manufacturer of corrugated cardboard.

“My policy in America is ‘steady growth is forever.’ We think sustainability is a wave that’s not going away anytime soon,” Pratt has said before. 

Zhenguo Li: President of LONGi – Net worth: $2.09 billion

You can’t talk climate about change and green energy without thinking of solar energy, and that’s what Li’s company specializes in. Longi Green Energy Technology is the world’s biggest maker of high-end monocrystalline solar products, as per Bloomberg, and the world’s most valuable solar company with a $16 billion market cap. 

The company has also achieved multiple records for significant breakthroughs with solar tech.