Iron Man is bringing his superpowers to sustainability.
In a move to address the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, film star Robert Downey Jr. launched FootPrint Coalition Ventures, an ESG investment platform, in 2019. He recently discussed the fund during the World Economic Forum’s Digital Davos Agenda earlier this week.
The Coalition will house a series of rolling venture capital funds focused chiefly on sustainable technology.
The announcement comes following a historic week for U.S. sustainability commitments. President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, and rolled back approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, among other moves addressing climate change.
“I am blessed with an enormous audience for my work as an actor, notably getting people to imagine the future in science fiction,” Downey Jr. said in a statement. “As can happen, life imitates art, and I am invited to meet with luminaries across technology, business, government, media, and science communities. I am also fortunate to have access to top advisors in the area of venture investment.”
FootPrint will invest in what Downey Jr. calls a “critical pathway toward the discovery and scaling of better solutions for our planet.”
“Having spent the last 18 months in dialogue with scientists, engineers and technologists, I now have a firm grasp of the obvious: this global existential threat is not something that’s going to be solved by a smattering of elite mega-corporations,” Downey Jr. said. “I think that paradigm must be smashed in favor of innovation by a broad set of new companies.”
ESG investing — Environmental, Social, and Governance — is on the increase. According to Pensions & Investments, the global value of ESG assets more than tripled between 2012 to 2020, totaling $40.5 trillion.
The Coalition includes a group of investors, technologists, and storytellers. According to Downey Jr., they’re working to help scale “enviro-tech solutions.” FootPrint Coalition Ventures says it will focus on two funds initially. The first focuses on early-stage pre-seed and Series A opportunities. The second will focus on late-stage, Series B and beyond. The funds will focus on six key areas: sustainably-focused consumer products and services; food and agriculture technology; materials and industrial tech; energy and transportation; education and media; and advanced environmental solutions.
“We believe that we can do well while doing good,” Downey Jr. said. “We believe that the companies we invest in will become great successes, delivering outsized returns to our investors, and helping to repair our planet.”