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The business of green or “how to make money from the environment”

Waya Quiviger, Director of Special Projects, Social Impact Management
For the fifth year in a row, John Forgach [1] who Chairs the Boards of the Equator Group, in New York, The Timber Group, in São Paulo, and Forestre Holdings UK Ltd, in London came to IE on March 10th in the context of the Global Affairs Forum. Like every year his session was a smash hit. The reasons for his lecture’s success are twofold. On the one hand is the topic itself: the business of green or “how to make money from the environment” is today an incredible business opportunity. Indeed, possibilities seem endless: from carbon trading, to reinsuring large plots of wooded areas, to trading specific animal species, the environment is a multibillion dollar market and the sooner one gets in, the larger the profits. And what could be more rewarding than protecting the planet and making money? The other reason for the session’s popularity of course is John Forgach’s charisma and uncanny persuasiveness.
As usual, students swarmed around John after he finished his talk. They kept him for an extra hour with questions. Already then, I had a sense that this year’s session had been particularly successful. This was later confirmed by John himself in the following email excerpt: “The lecture seems to really have touched a cord with the students at IE. There has always been positive feedback but this time I am somewhat overwhelmed. Following my Mar 10 lecture, we have received 82 CVs and 18 direct meeting requests, 12 internship requests and 7 employment requests! 4 students have asked for assistance in their business plans. “
This GAF lecture could not have made a more significant impact. My only regret is that only half of the International MBA class had the privilege to hear John Forgach speak. Next year, I will ask him to give his lecture twice.