What’s that Rob Gardner up to now!

Rob getting a move on

I like Rob Gardner- he gets things done. He created Redington and Mallowstreet, he started Redstart and has written books for children on how to manage money.

He dragged us into using twitter and linked in and showed us how to help each other through sharing knowledge not hoarding it.

When he had done all that he went to St James Place and turned a rather shambolic investment unit into something which now sets standards in governance and value assessment.

Now he is starting a new stage in his staggeringly ambitious career.

SJP CEO Andrew Croft said Gardner was following a ‘personal passion’ with his new business

Tom Beale will carry on Rob’s work but Rob has texted me with his plans which he’s happy to share. I assume this is the explanation for his departure he gave to his colleagues.

Further to my news this morning, I would like to share some more details around the driver behind my decision to pursue new opportunities and explore some ideas I have been developing for a number of months.

Carbon Emissions are the problem, Nature is the solution. Finance is how we connect the two

The BIG Idea…

So what’s the problem?

We all know that climate change exists, and the issue is that we’ve got too much CO2 in the atmosphere. I like to think about this like a running bath. The running water is CO2, and the earth, our ‘bath’, is almost overflowing.

How do we turn off the taps?

And really for the last decade, the conversation has been about how do we turn off the taps? How do we stop doing things? How do we fly less, eat less red meat, move to electric vehicles?

We need to consider all of that, but as humans, we struggle with giving up our lifestyles and making sacrifices, and that’s why we haven’t made much progress. We can’t rely on individuals to solve the problem, and we know from COP26 that governments can’t do it alone either. To pull out the plug, we need to connect money to nature.

The solution: NATURE

We need to find ways to capture carbon. So one solution might be in technology, but the other answer that we’ve been ignoring has actually been staring us in the face: nature.

Nature is really good at capturing carbon.

Here’s an example:

For example, kelp forests sequester CO2, improve fish biodiversity, meaning that kelp can permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That makes kelp extremely valuable.

However, not only are we still adding to the climate change problem, but we’re also destroying kelp. We’re destroying nature, the only thing that can save us.  

My big idea is how do we put a value on nature?

Conservationists, charities, and scientists have been telling us how valuable nature is for years, and we know the money makes the world go round. So what we need to do is align the financial world with the natural world and create a virtuous circle (like the circular economy).

Here’s another example:

Right now, in Gabon, an elephant gets killed for $40,000 for its tusks, and yet, the environmental services that it provides in walking through the jungle pulling down trees, defecating, stomping that faeces onto the ground, all of that improves soil fertility, and promotes biodiversity in the region.

So if we look at the carbon value of that elephant, over its lifetime it’s worth about $2 million. And yet right now, it’s being killed for $40,000 dollars.

Recognising the financial value of nature

So what if we had a mechanism that allowed countries like Gabon to protect those elephants. To sell those elephants to big companies like BP, like SJP, like Amazon, we could make that elephant an incredibly valuable commodity.

The impact on local economies

That has a knock-on effect in the local region too, because some of that money can also be used to go to the people of Gabon for looking after the elephant, and you start to create local economic prosperity.

Those locals could generate income by going out every day and taking photos of the elephants, collecting their faeces and verifying that that elephant is alive today, just as it was yesterday. As a result of that, some of the poorest countries in the world actually become superpowers.

Back to the BIG IDEA

The big idea is that we need to create an asset liability model for the world where we give merit to our own abilities and in that context, the worth of the natural world becomes super valuable financially, and even ensures that some of the poorest countries in the world suddenly become global super players. That is how we pull the plug.

Let me remind you of my key idea

The problem we have is carbon emissions. The solution lies in nature. The bridge between the problem and the solution is in financial investing.

My purpose beyond money 
Finance needs to value the service that nature delivers.

As outlandish as that seems, I firmly believe we have the solution. I can see how we get there, and if you can too, please reach out to me. Let’s get the steps in place to make it happen.

How it could look in practice:
Let’s look at how that could play out in our society. I have this outlandish vision of a couple who land at Heathrow, back home after an amazing holiday. Now, Heathrow are committed to Net Zero, so as their phones connect to the airport Wi-Fi, they’re met with a pop-up that asks if they’d like to off-set their carbon footprint for the holiday they’ve just been on.

Imaging, picking your elephant Tinder style, to choose which one you want to off-set your carbon footprint for you, just through the act of sponsoring it’s existence for 11 days!

I am and always have been firm in the belief that money can be a force for good.

With advents in technology and increasing support from governments, there is now a window of opportunity to establish a foundation upon which carbon capture practices can fundamentally and permanently be transformed which ultimately give us a fighting chance at tackling climate change.

For more information on my idea and thinking its worth reading my linkedin post 


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to What’s that Rob Gardner up to now!

  1. Tim Simpson says:

    Hello Henry,
    Thank you for this. I doubt that I would see any of it from SJP…!
    Incidentally, your Linkedin connection from the blog ‘Like this’ has not connected with anything for about one week now from two of my laptops, so perhaps there is a fault?
    Kind regards,
    Tim Simpson

  2. Robin Powell says:

    There are some really good people at St James’s Place.

    If I were a client I would want to know why none of them tend to stay very long!

    Good luck, Robert Gardner, in your new venture.

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