My Sustainability Story: Zoheb Davar, Cleantech Rising

Important Media (the parent company of CleanTechies and 20+ other sites!) is offering readers a chance to share their sustainability story with our readership to help us all move the global sustainability conversation forward.

Here is our latest submission, from Zoheb Davar:

My background:

We had just finished learning the history of Egyptian culture before disembarking in Alexandria. Everything was enveloped in sand as I trekked toward Giza across the Sahara Desert atop a spitting camel. Standing at the foot of the great pyramids, I gazed at the rare beauty of human creation withstanding the test of time. But these magnificent structures are not what held my attention during this Semester at Sea voyage over the summer of 2010. The bus ride back to Alexandria ran adjacent to the Nile River – the memory of which still causes me to shudder. I was appalled when I looked out the window and saw a meager stream of water flanked by masses of garbage that bore corporate branding. Staring at the murky piles of trash for miles and miles, I felt partially responsible as a customer of the U.S. corporations that precipitated the detriment of Earth’s asset that shaped the course of history.

My visceral reaction to the shocking effects humans have had on the environment was not isolated to my visit to the Nile. Two weeks earlier I had been discovering ancient Greek ruins that stood in Athens’s suffocating layer of smog. I remember thinking that Hercules would not have been able to complete his ten labors in those environmental conditions. A week later I was exploring Morocco at night when a power outage occurred, leaving me in a dark labyrinth of Marrakesh’s dirt streets. These power outages were frequent and brought all bustle and business to a standstill.

It was fitting that the theme of our voyage was “sustainability”; thus, I found a method to alleviate the issues faced by people around the world by progressing clean technology, renewable energy, and sustainability.

10492135_706705006033218_7805475816850816684_nI began working at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and used my financial experience to help management teams of twenty startups raise funding. My idealism was challenged as I saw each startup struggle to scale its solutions to environmental issues. Then a colleague handed me an article about impact investing. I was captivated by this initial tango with the idea of impact investing that intertwined my financial competency and my passion.

I began working at EcoEnterprises Fund, established as an investment arm of The Nature Conservancy in 1998, and learned the process of investing in environmentally sustainable businesses in Latin America. I believe I’ve made a real impact to set the foundation for a sustainable future through impact investing. It was also quite rewarding when Leonardo DiCaprio saw the value in our work and co-invested in one of our portfolio companies.

What I am currently working on:

CLEANTECH_dark_BGI created a newsletter in which a partner and I get the word out about the latest clean technologies and trends, then provide value to our readers by envisioning how those innovations will shape the future. We call it Cleantech Rising. We want to get people excited about a clean future!

I’ve recently finished up my time at EcoEnterprises Fund because the company has to go out and raise more funding and so my investment analysis won’t be needed for some time. Therefore, I’m currently interviewing with two firms for similar impact investing positions.

16897624025_fd1ed5bda7_oWhere you can learn more about me:

To share your own sustainability story, fill out this simple form. You’ll have a chance to add images and links. Our admin team will contact you with questions and follow up as needed.

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