Person

David Blood

Nationality:

American

Organization:

Generation Investment Management

Born:

1959

David Blood is a co-founder and senior partner of Generation Investment Management (GIM), a London-based “sustainable” investment fund which bases its $25.1 billion portfolio on an environmentalist ideological outlook and the “environment, social responsibility, and corporate governance” (ESG) investment philosophy. Blood, who was a long-time executive at Goldman Sachs, is a close associate of fellow GIM co-founder and former Clinton administration Vice President Al Gore.

Education and Early Career

Blood attended Hamilton College where he initially majored in education, but switched to child psychology. He is presently a life trustee of Hamilton. [1]

After graduating, Blood applied to the Peace Corps, but was rejected. He then applied for a Ph.D. program in psychology but was also rejected. At the suggestion of his father, Blood tried to start a career in finance. He would join Bankers Trust Co. in New York City. [2]

Two years later, Blood attended the Harvard Graduate School of Business for a Master of Business Administration. [3] Today, Blood sits on the board of the Harvard Business School Visiting Committee. [4]

Goldman Sachs

From 1985 to 2003, Blood worked at Goldman Sachs in a variety of roles. In 1993, he was transferred to London to lead operations, technology, and finance for all of Goldman’s operations in Europe. [5] From 1999 to 2003, Blood served as co-CEO and then CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), a fund which currently holds almost $875 million in assets investing in 74 countries. [6]

At GSAM, Blood met Mark Ferguson, the head of the firm’s financial research team and the son of the former manager of the Manchester United Football Club. In 2002, Ferguson attended a conference in Zurich held by Sustainable Asset Management, a Swiss investment firm. Ferguson became enamored with the company’s management style and focus on environmentalism. He convinced Blood of the strategy’s merits, and GSAM began shifting towards investments along ESG principles. [7]

As head of GSAM, Blood steered the firm to invest heavily into the Chicago Climate Exchange, the only voluntary carbon credit market in North America. Blood would also later invest in the Exchange as head of GIM. Blood and other speculators invested in the Chicago Climate Exchange on the premise that a carbon cap-and-trade law would be passed under the Obama administration. Such a law would force companies to buy “carbon credits” from the federal government and on open marketplaces like the Exchange in order to emit C02 into the atmosphere for industrial purposes. However, no law was ever passed, and the open market price for a credit for a metric ton of C02 declined from $7.50 in May 2008, to $0.05 in November 2010. The Exchange closed at the end of 2010. [8][9]

Generation Investment Management

Blood met former Vice President Al Gore in 2003 while GSAM was consulting Gore on a business deal. [10][11] The following year, Blood, Gore, and five other partners founded GIM with $35 million in assets with offices in London and San Francisco. Neither Blood nor Gore took a salary from the firm for the first three years. Mark Ferguson was another co-founder; he is GIM’s co-CIO of global equity strategy. All seven founders meet twice per year to discuss the company’s direction. [12]

Blood and Gore saw the fund as an opportunity to demonstrate the financial viability of their environmentalist views. The firm only takes long-term (of at least three years) long positions, and factors numerous broader social priorities when considering an investment, including the asset’s interaction with climate change, developing-country poverty, public health, water scarcity, and urbanization. [13]

GIM provided seed funding to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, a nonprofit accounting firm which specializes in ESG-focused companies, whose board members include media billionaire, former New York Mayor, and unsuccessful 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg. [14]

Two of GIM’s largest and earliest investors were large government worker pension funds. The New York State Common Retirement Fund, the third-largest public employee pension fund in the US, invested $942 million in 2008. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the second-largest public employee pension fund in the US, had invested $191 billion in GIM by 2015. [15]

Blood and Gore have published a series of op-eds in the Wall Street Journal throughout the 2010s outlining their environmentalist views and investment philosophy. They argued that conventional fuels will inevitably become more scare and worsen the financial viability of the economic infrastructure around them. They also endorse increased taxation and regulation by governments throughout the world to expedite the decline of conventional fuels. [16]

Blood and Gore intended GIM to serve as a model for other investment firms to follow, particularly in favoring ESG factors in investment decisions. Through their op-eds, they have encouraged employees of other funds to pressure their employers to divest from fossil fuels and invest in zero or near-zero emission companies. [17] However, Christopher Ailman, the CEO of the System, has stated that GIM has yet to make an impact on the market, and ESG factors are still typically ignored by top firms in the investment space. [18]

Five percent of GIM’s profits go to Generation Foundation, a philanthropic division of the firm dedicated to pushing the global economy towards “sustainable capitalism.” [19]

As of 2015, GIM had an annualized performance of 12.14%. [20] As of 2019, the firm had 93 employees. [21]

Board Seats

Blood is the chairman of Dialight, an industrial lighting company. He is the chairman of Social Finance UK, a consulting firm which advises the UK government on community development. He is the co-chairman of the World Resources Institute, a global research nonprofit focused on economic development. He is a board member of On the Edge Conservation, a global wildlife conservation group. He is a board member of the Endemol Shine Group, a Dutch-British media production company. He is a board member of Motivate International, a bike-sharing company. [22]

Blood also sits on the board of other investment funds with environmentalist-based investment strategies. He is a board member of New Forests, an investment fund focused on environmental real estate investing. Blood is a board member of Bridges Fund Management, a private equity investor with a “sustainability focus.” [23]

References

  1. “David Blood – Senior Partner.” Generation Investment Management. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-people/. ^
  2. Rose-Smith, Imogen. “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation.” Institutional Investor. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  3. “David Blood – Senior Partner.” Generation Investment Management. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-people/. ^
  4. “David Blood.” Lifograph. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.lifograph.com/david-blood. ^
  5. Rose-Smith, Imogen. “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation.” Institutional Investor. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  6. “Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P.” Whale Wisdom. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://whalewisdom.com/filer/goldman-sachs-asset-management-lp. ^
  7. Rose-Smith, Imogen. “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation.” Institutional Investor. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  8. Gronewald, Nathanial. “Chicago Climate Change Exchange Closes Nation’s First Cap-And-Trade System But Keeps Eye to the Future.” The New York Times. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/01/03/03climatewire-chicago-climate-exchange-closes-but-keeps-ey-78598.html?pagewanted=2. ^
  9. Bell, Larry. “Blood and Gore: Making a Killing on Anti-Carbon Hype.” Forbes. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/11/03/blood-and-gore-making-a-killing-on-anti-carbon-investment-hype/#7af563c332dc. ^
  10. Rose-Smith, Imogen. “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation.” Institutional Investor. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  11. “Our Story.” Generation Investment Management. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  12. Rose-Smith, Imogen. “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation.” Institutional Investor. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  13. “Investing in sustainability: An interview with Al Gore and David Blood.” McKinsey & Company. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/investing-in-sustainability-an-interview-with-al-gore-and-david-blood. ^
  14. Rose-Smith, Imogen. “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation.” Institutional Investor. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  15. Rose-Smith, Imogen. “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation.” Institutional Investor. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  16. Bell, Larry. “Blood and Gore: Making a Killing On Anti-Carbon Investment Hype.” Forbes. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/11/03/blood-and-gore-making-a-killing-on-anti-carbon-investment-hype/#7af563c332dc. ^
  17. Bell, Larry. “Blood and Gore: Making a Killing On Anti-Carbon Investment Hype.” Forbes. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/11/03/blood-and-gore-making-a-killing-on-anti-carbon-investment-hype/#7af563c332dc. ^
  18. Rose-Smith, Imogen. “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation.” Institutional Investor. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  19. Rose-Smith, Imogen. “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation.” Institutional Investor. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  20. Rose-Smith, Imogen. “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation.” Institutional Investor. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-story/. ^
  21. “Our People.” Generation Investment Management. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-people/. ^
  22. “David Blood – Senior Partner.” Generation Investment Management. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.generationim.com/firm-overview/our-people/. ^
  23. “David Blood.” Lifograph. Accessed April 26, 2020. https://www.lifograph.com/david-blood. ^
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