General Investment Management LLP (GIM) is a London-based company with offices in New York and Australia, which aims “to embed sustainability into the mainstream capital markets.” GIM believes that “capital markets and capitalism are at a critical juncture” that requires a “transition from a high-carbon to low-carbon economy.” This, says GIM, “will be the most significant process in modern economic history – matching the Industrial Revolution in scale, and the technological revolution in pace.”
Former Vice President Al Gore and David Blood, former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, founded GIM in 2004 and established its non-profit arm, the Generation Foundation, in 2005. Gore serves as GIM’s Chairman; Blood is the Senior Partner. Heading GIM’s U.S. business is Peter S. Knight, who was Gore’s Chief of Staff from 1977 to 1989, manager of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, and the former Washington lobbyist for Molten Metal Technology Inc., which was run by Maurice Strong, a powerfully connected environmentalist and longtime associate of Gore. Due in part to Knight’s efforts, Molten Metal was able to secure $33 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. On Earth Day 1995, Gore himself championed the company’s technology as a pioneering environmental discovery, helping to send its stock price soaring. Molten Metal, however, was unable to deliver on its promises, leading to its eventual demise, but not before Strong and a number of other executives sold $15.3 million in personal shares of the company at top-dollar value.
Joining Gore and Blood at GIM are 18 additional partners, 7 of whom (as of mid-2010) are former Goldman Sachs executives: Lisa Anderson, Martin Bray, Mark Ferguson, Peter Harris, Nicholas Kukrika, and David Lowish. In addition, almost half of GIM’s associates (as of mid-2010) –- Phillip Harris, Lucy Hodgson, Flavia Lugangira, Lesley Martinez, Greg Wasserman, and Loretta White –- previously worked at Goldman Sachs. Like GIM, Goldman Sachs has been closely involved in the push for both new green regulation and a new green economy in America.
In 2005, when Hank Paulson was CEO of GIM before becoming Treasury Secretary a year later, he endorsed Cap-and-Trade legislation, writing that “voluntary action alone cannot solve the climate change problem.”
In 2006 Goldman Sachs purchased 10% of Richard Sandor’s carbon-trading company, Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), for $23 million while partnering with BP Solar and investing in a host of other green companies, including the Utah-based Blue Source LLC (which sells carbon offsets), Horizon Wind Energy, and Changing World Technologies.
GIM is an associate member of CCX, on whose board the now-disgraced Maurice Strong currently sits. GIM has made a “legally binding commitment” to measure and report its annual business-related emissions and to purchase carbon offsets if it exceeds its yearly carbon quota. “Our environmental commitments extend beyond business operations,” GIM asserts. “Each year, we voluntarily offset the entire carbon footprint of every employee, as well as the carbon footprint of any partners and/or children.” Gore and GIM have been criticized about the misleading nature of this pledge, since CCX is the leading North American provider of carbon offsets or credits – and GIM owns 10% of CCX, making it the fifth largest shareholder of CCX’s parent company, the global carbon-trading giant Climate Exchange Plc.
GIM’s organizational partners are the Al Gore-founded Alliance for Climate Protection and its affiliated Climate Project, the Global Impact Investing Network, the Mistra Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the World Resources Institute. GIM is also a member of a host of green initiatives all around the globe, including the Asian SRI Association, which manages over $2 trillion in assets; the Carbon Disclosure Project, which manages $31 trillion in assets; the Finance Initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Global Compact.
Another of GIM’s allies is the capital investment firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). In 2006, Gore became a partner with the firm and, by 2008, KPCB announced that it was strengthening its alliance with GIM by creating two new funds, the Green Growth Fund (a $500 million investment vehicle to spur investment in green-market solutions) and KPCB XIII (a $700 million fund investing in greentech, information technology, and life sciences ventures).