Introducing Howard Fischer: 1% for the Planet's newest board member and business member

Howard Fischer became 1% for the Planet’s newest board member in April 2019. Learn about this Wall Street hedge fund manager’s journey to becoming a 1% for the Planet member and proving that we can all do more to better our planet.

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Joining 1% for the Planet as a member company was a much more difficult decision than joining the Board. It was an uncomfortable commitment at first, given the likely large (for me), uncertain economic obligation and recent changes in my business, but when at this year’s Global Summit Yvon called it “rent due for ones’ residing on planet Earth”, all that hesitation and concern dissipated. At least most of the time. 

Importantly too, the “vestgate” news made me all the more interested in proving to the world that hedge fund managers and Wall Street should not be perceived to be the iconic evil doers of our society...they aren’t. Most of us are smart, hard-working people who care about mankind and the planet. And all of us, regardless of what we do for a living, can do better.

I want to use my Board role and my company’s membership in 1% for the Planet and its calling card to help get the message out about the direness of climate change and the role all businesses have to play in the solutions. But my sense is that unlike most of the current 1% members, the world of finance is less aware, less engaged and more exclusively focused on the pursuit of the bottom line, maybe with a little greenwashing thrown in.

For that reason, we proudly display the 1% logo on our business cards and website. I hope that it will spark conversations. In meetings, whenever possible, I am full throated about my commitment to slowing and reversing climate change, especially through impact investing. After 35 years as a hedge fund manager, it’s about the only lens I can use when assessing a problem.

I believe we must harness the power of capitalism to identify, fund and serve those next businesses and technologies that will bring us back from the brink of collapse. I suspect many of those businesses are in the 1% family as well.

Giving is important, very important – alongside philanthropic capital, and possibly more importantly, enlightened positive impact investing in conscious capitalism must be part of the solution. So are our actions in daily life, including purchase decisions - less is generally more - and whenever possible, sustainable/regenerative/recyclable/closed loop processes should be preferred.

Philanthropy is too small; government is bigger, but also too small and extremely difficult to move. Commerce, on the other hand, has the bandwidth and incentives to make lasting change. Of course all three legs need to be engaged, the more the better. That’s another reason I love 1%. It’s a great combination of the power of business and philanthropy.

 So yes, please join 1%. Share some of your hard-earned gains with the planet. Without it, you would have nothing. But also live it, know it and invest in it too.

Katherine Williams