Expert opinions, Interviews

Michael Rockefeller: Business enterprises should take lead in solving environmental issues

Rockefeller & Couts International is a most dynamic, broad-minded and technology-oriented company which is also much concerned about environment. Michael Charles Rockefeller, professional investor and company co-owner, answered the questions Invest Foresight had about his views, ideas, and activities.

  • Could you please describe major areas of your business interests. What sites is Rockefeller & Couts currently developing and where are they located?
  • To get the story straight from the beginning, Rockefeller & Couts London back then started as an asset management firm. Before launching the company, I was obviously originating from a strictly corporate and financial background and it so happened that I carried this element with me within the company’s initial structure. The clientele, the connections and the resources I was previously holding individually became a company asset and this helped us throughout the first days of business. But as it’s known, after our merger and the consequent establishment of Rockefeller & Couts International in the United States, the character or rather the business focus shifted towards construction and real estate. Much of our time was spent on developing innovative building technique that would allow to make luxury more affordable and friendlier to our environment. So the fight for us now is transferred to our R&D locations rather than the actually sites we are developing around the world. We get a lot of good work done back home and gradually apply these new discoveries in sites all over the world like our most recent properties in the Baltic States and the United Kingdom.
  • What advanced technologies are employed in your business?
  • Speaking of new technologies we couldn’t possibly neglect mentioning our flagship construction pride which is no other than the usage of green roofs in a good 40% of our new-builds. Green roofs are roofs that are substantially covered with living plants. Although historical and archaeological evidence suggests that green roofs have been built for more than three thousand years, widespread acceptance has always been limited by the structural cost of supporting heavy soils and by the technical challenges of low-slope waterproofing. With recent advances in membrane waterproofing technology combined with the development of lightweight thin-profile green roofs have finally made green roofs practical for most new construction: there are now more than one billion square feet of lightweight green roofs and we take pride in being a significant part of this figure.
  • Do you have engagements with any Russian startups and technology companies?
  • We don’t have dealings with Russian startups as of yet but tracking emerging markets and even specific efforts within them, has definitely taken place. Our assets management department has looked into many scenarios of funds allocation towards upcoming Russian Unicorn companies but the chance was not yet given. I am well assured that this is going to change sometime soon.
  • How do you see an environmental responsibility of the contemporary businesses?
  • Business enterprises should take lead in solving environmental issues. It is our responsibility to check the consequences of our actions and also to protect environmental resources. There are countless initiatives which can be taken by business enterprises for environmental protection. Most importantly developing clear-cut policies and programs for purchasing good quality raw material, using latest technology, using scientific techniques of disposal and waste management and developing the skills of the employees for the purpose of pollution control. Businesses must also take great care of adapting to the laws and regulations passed by the government for the prevention of pollution as well as participating in government programs relating to the management of hazardous substances, clearing up of polluted water bodies, plantation of trees etc.
  • What are the best ways and means to address present-day global challenges?
  • I would easily take the freedom to answer, technology. Access to advanced methods that will enable us to change harmful habits and needs with more sustainable solutions. The businesses are always the greatest drive power in such mass changes. If entrepreneurs manage to finally see the potential – and of course the financial prospect – in sustainable solutions for our planet ventures, we can then hope for an immediate shift in this downward movement we follow the last years.
  • Are you involved with the Rothschild/Rockefeller asset management union?
  • I think “an asset management union” is not really what it is. It’s rather simply a Rothschild share buy in one of the Rockefeller historical ventures, specifically the Rockefeller capital management. It carries the family name but the service the entity provides differs greatly from the service it used to provide throughout the previous century. Most of my family members just like myself are not really part of the board or even remotely collaborating with Rockefeller capital management so that’s why the union you mention is not really a union of two families but rather a financial arrangement between two business entities.

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