PERSPECTIVE3-5 min to read

Practical Philanthropy: 'Into the blue' with gaming entrepreneur, Jasper Smith

In our latest podcast, Lyn Tomlinson talks to gaming entrepreneur, Jasper Smith about his tireless work to scale the amount of capital directed to protecting our most important eco-system, the ocean.

10/10/2023
Into the blue

Authors

Lyn Tomlinson
Head of Impact and Philanthropy

Every other breath we take is provided by the oceans and they are our greatest ally in our fight to stop climate breakdown. Yet oceans receive less than 0.5% of philanthropy funding globally.  

In Episode 5 of Practical Philanthropy – Into the blue, our Head of Impact, Lyn Tomlinson talks to gaming entrepreneur, Jasper Smith about his tireless work to scale the amount of capital directed to protecting our most important eco-system, the ocean.

The views expressed in the podcast and transcript below are those of the speakers and not those of Cazenove Capital. This podcast is intended for information purposes only and should not be deemed to constitute the provision of professional advice in any way.

Jasper Smith

You may also listen to the podcast on:

Below is a transcript of Lyn Tomlinson and Jasper Smith's conversation.

Resources mentioned in the podcast:

  1. Prince Albert of Monaco foundation
  2. Blue Marine Foundation
  3. Ten Percent for the Ocean
  4. Coral Reef Alliance
  5. Detox development
  6. BBNJ (Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction)
  7. Stop Deep Sea Mining Petition

Transcript:

Lyn Tomlinson; Intro

Welcome back to practical philanthropy, with me, Lyn Tomlinson, Head of Impact at Cazenove Capital. In this podcast, we bring you the voices of really inspirational people who are toiling valiantly to solve environmental and social challenges that are often complex, but always significantly underfunded. In episode five, we discuss one of the biggest gaps in funding I've seen. Less than half a percent of philanthropy globally goes to supporting our oceans. That's despite them having absorbed 90% of global heating to date and providing every other breath we take. So let's have a deep dive into the blue and talk to Jasper Smith about his efforts to galvanise more money into saving our oceans.

Lyn Tomlinson

Right, let's get started. Okay, so we're here in our lovely recording studio in the Schroder's Mothership. And Jasper, thank you for joining me on Practical Philanthropy. I had an absolute nightmare researching you. I'll tell you why – because you're a sculptor, media and tech entrepreneur, philanthropist, sustainable investor, venture capitalist, explorer, mountain climber, documentary maker, chairman of Arksen, Sustainable Brands and founder of Vala Capital – and you're basically what I would call an all in philanthropist. This is your life by the sounds of it. We could talk to you about so much. But I think particularly for our audience where we have around 40% of our clients are self-made people. So, they're people who, like you, have grown a business and exited it. I think what would be really interesting for them is to hear about that journey from entrepreneur to philanthropist. And I know you're doing other stuff which we'll come on to, and I suspect that all of the other wonderful stuff you do as well sort of will probably bleed out into the philanthropy conversation. So let's start with that.

Jasper Smith

Brilliant, Lyn, thanks for having me. It's great to be here. And your intro made me sound like a magpie, which I think is probably pretty accurate. I think a lot of entrepreneurs find it very difficult to say no. That's how quite a lot of businesses are started because you're quite creative and you get bombarded by ideas and I think that's probably the best thing for me. Been the best thing for me, but it's also been the hardest thing to manage. I guess my journey started in tech. My corporate journey started in tech, and I was very lucky to be right at the beginning of Sky [TV]. I think it was the second or third employee in Sky.

Lyn Tomlinson

Okay

Jasper Smith

And so, I was lucky to be able to build teams under me, learn about technology really early on. All this emerging technology is gradually being shifted from analogue to digital, and you could begin to see these sort of business revolutions. We then had the games industry that came to life as a result of that transition. And I was very lucky. I built a big games business, we scaled that pretty much globally and someone knocked on the door one day and said, oh, I quite fancy that. And so, we sold that in 2001, just before the market crashed, so that was a bit of a coup. I think, like a lot of people that build a business, and you sell it and you have these moments of euphoria. And I remember waking up thinking, there's almost nothing I can't do that I could conceive of doing now. And so there was this sort of two-hour window at about 04:00 in the morning after we had signed. But pretty quickly that wears off and then you're sort of left with what next and do you start other businesses, or do you start doing something else with your life? And I think my journey was to try and do both, in parallel.

Lyn Tomlinson

Fantastic. And that led to the creation of Vala Capital and then Arksen on the Sustainable brands and the Sustainable yachting business, effectively.

Jasper Smith

Yeah. I mean, I don't think there's any journey that any of us go on that's completely linear. I guess Vala Capital came out of sort of acting as an investor, being a family office. So, I put some of the capital I'd made into making some investments. I realised I was pretty bad at doing them on my own, and gradually built a team around me to do that. And then we professionalised that and then started taking other investors money and co investing that with my capital. And that's been really interesting because we've sort of shifted from a model when I started investing that was purely about capital return, to a model that's far more about impact as well as capital return. And this whole blended finance movement, if you like, that's grown up over the last ten years, largely driven by some of the work the UN have done. And things like that has been really powerful, certainly for me, certainly for Vala Capital. And I think we look at capital now as responsible money, and that it needs to have a task. And the task is obviously to build great businesses that can be sustainable, but it's to invest in projects and ideas that can have systemic change in different sectors and industries. So it's a great privilege.

Lyn Tomlinson

Yeah, it sounds wonderful. And it's really interesting you talk about the investment piece, because getting people to understand that what they do with their investments affects things like climate change and oceans, which we're going to come on and talk about, is a really important point because people at the moment are so focused on – all the narrative is around – individual actions that people should be taking. And the reality is that we can all go to plant-based diets, fly less, do whatever, but if we keep pumping money into fossil fuels through the banking sector, et cetera, it's all pointless. And there was some brilliant research, actually, that's been done, which says that if you have twelve and a half thousand pounds in Barclays, that's the equivalent of 14 return flights from London to Rome.

Jasper Smith

Is it really? Wow.

Lyn Tomlinson

That's twelve and a half thousand pounds.

Jasper Smith

Wow.

Lyn Tomlinson

And you're like, okay, right, how much money I got marked?

Jasper Smith

So how do you make capital responsible?

Lyn Tomlinson

Exactly, but just how big that shift could be if it is. So, I think it's a really important area and we're obviously seeing that within our own client base – people like you – sort of really thinking about all the assets that they have. Not just thinking about philanthropy, which we're going to come on to next, but also your investments, your business families who've got landed estates, thinking about rewilding, all those sorts of things. So it's an amazing shift that we're seeing happening.

Jasper Smith

Yeah. I think the energy around it is palpable and really attractive, isn't it? I think about how my kids treat me and what they request that we do and things like that, and I think that being purpose driven around an action or a set of actions or how you treat your capital begins to feel very appropriate. Maybe it didn't feel that appropriate ten years ago, so that shift, I think, is very powerful.

Lyn Tomlinson

Well, it's interesting you mentioned children, because – his name escapes me now – but the chap who set up the Energy Coalition said that his 17-year-old son locked him in a room for a weekend and said you've got to sort your life out and do something with your life because he'd been selling credit cards and soap. And then he set up the Energy Coalition because his son was really concerned about climate change.

Jasper Smith

He was really embarrassed at school, probably – "Come on, dad".

Lyn Tomlinson

Yeah. Have you found that influence come through from your children?

Jasper Smith

Yeah, obviously our journey has been very much around sort of ocean philanthropy and that's driven in part by my passion but inspired very much by the kids growing up and sharing that passion and wanting to push me to do more. So, I think they're always an influence.

Lyn Tomlinson

On they yeah, exactly. And so, can I talk about the decision to be public? So, you're here chatting away to me today. It's very un-British to be public with your philanthropy, but it's really important that people are, because it normalises giving and you can't be what you can't see – all those sorts of things, and people can aspire to be philanthropists.

And I think the reason that more people aren't is this concern around criticism. Because people who try and do good things often quite get shot down by the media sometimes. Have you experienced anything like that? Was that a worry for you?

Jasper Smith

A little, but I guess the way we approach philanthropy is as a conduit to capital, it sounds very boring, but we're very interested in how money flows and how to raise money and how to deploy capital. So our philanthropy is almost like venture philanthropy, and so we act like a VC. And so my decision to be public was, I don't think it was ever an option, really, because to build it – if you think of it as a business and you think of philanthropy as a business because it needs to be for it to become sustainable, you have to be public. It's like being the public CEO of a public facing company, or a private company.

Lyn Tomlinson

And I think the next generation are doing things slightly differently. And there's calls from some of them to have more people being public, which is really interesting. So, we've mentioned the oceans a few times there. Can we talk specifically about them, then? And that makes up the vast majority of your philanthropy in terms of the money that you actually give away. But despite the oceans, I think they provide something ridiculous, like 80% of the air we breathe. So, there's a great campaign called The Sea We Breathe, which I love. 40% of the world's population live in coastal regions, and if it were an economy, it would be the 7th largest in the world.

Jasper Smith

It's extraordinary. I mean, every stat is extraordinary, isn't it? Feeds a billion and a half people a day, as you said, every second breath you take...

Lyn Tomlinson

Yeah, but it [the ocean] gets half a percent, isn't it, of funding?

Jasper Smith

Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think if you look at it, obviously the planet's largest ecosystem supports all life on Earth. It supports hundreds of thousands of species. Without a healthy ocean, there is no planet. And so I guess we look at it as a sort of a foundation ecosystem that is absolutely core to the survival of humankind. And when you look at it in those terms, you then look at, from a philanthropic point of view, how much capital it gets allocated collectively. So this is the global ocean. Every drop is connected to the next one. The global ocean gets less than 0.5% of global philanthropic capital. And whichever way you look at it, that's horrifying and astounding. Because as our largest ecosystem, it should at least be getting a larger share of the philanthropy that's put into environmental causes. And it should probably be getting a much larger share of philanthropy generally. And what's mad is more goes into cat conservation and looking after cats than goes into the ocean. And there are all these stats about we spend four times more on washing powder than we do on conserving the ocean. There's lots of these things.

Lyn Tomlinson

And why do you think people aren't funding it? Is it because it's called the Blue Planet for a reason? It's massive. It's so complex. Do you think people just don't know where to start?

Jasper Smith

Yeah, I think there's lots of reasons, but I think there's a complexity to the ocean that people struggle with, because a lot of it is quite scientific and quite research led, and therefore it's quite academic. And so, decoding some of those problems feels quite a burden for people. So, I think there's that side. It's not easy to interpret the issues. The second thing is, fish don't look like polar bears or pandas and so it's quite hard, unless you can find nemo or something like that, there's no sort of beautiful face of the ocean – other than maybe a whale and a dolphin – but they're used so much that we've become sort of desensitised to seeing those images.

And I think if you think about the ocean collectively, what you end up with is trying to create a lexicon that enables people to interpret it very quickly. And so, our view was that there was no central point where a human being could donate to the global ocean. So, what we ended up with was, there are a multitude of great organisations doing great work around the world, but they work in competition with each other and they're all, given how hard they've had to work to get their capital, they're all quite proprietorial about the capital that they've got access to through foundations or high-net-worths or whatever.

And so we spent a couple of years trying to align 60 or 70 of those major charities around the world so that we now have organisations in 27 countries, several hundred projects, and they're all backable through a single donation. So, I guess what we wanted to do was create a mutual fund for ocean conservation. That's where '10% for the ocean' came from.

Lyn Tomlinson

That's brilliant. Well, can we talk about the strategy of that because one of the reasons why I decided to do this podcast is because I see people doing brilliant work all the time who really understand the sector and have got staff with brilliant expertise, like you have on your advisory board, et cetera.

And then you got people new to the sector who really want to understand that. And there's a lot of money wasted because people are going through the same journey, the same pain, the same failures. Trying to work out what actually works. Where's the money going? Where can my money actually make a difference? So that collaboration piece is really interesting. Could you just talk us through the sort of strategy, then, the sort of broad strategy of '10% for the ocean'?

Jasper Smith

Yeah, sure. So, we made a very conscious decision that we didn't want to be cause based. So, we didn't want to say, we're just about coral or we're just about whales... so we wanted to be very clear that we were just about the money – "Show us the money!" – because there's something very pure about money. People get it, people understand how it works. And it's relatively straightforward to be able to describe the things I described earlier about the crisis in ocean funding, about a mutual fund for the ocean, and that a single donation can back hundreds of projects and create unity amongst a whole raft of disparate organisations that may have otherwise felt they were in competition. And you can achieve that by bringing new money, not by competing for the old sources of money. So, this was really a retail led play. So, I guess that's the core pillar of it, is it's a real retail play to be able to amplify the message of the ocean to as many people as possible, so that the overall quantum of cash goes into it is larger.

And then in terms of the deployment strategy I mentioned, we work a little bit like a VC fund, and that means we have an investment committee. And that investment committee invests around four mandates. And the mandates are either education-focused initiatives, which is obviously very broad. An example of a project that we might do, there is a major feature documentary that we're doing with David Attenborough at the moment, which will be very cool when that comes out. We then invest around research and infrastructure. And probably the best examples of research would be some of the work that we do with the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton. So, they obviously run all of the UK's research fleets, but they also control pretty much all of the major science programmes that the UK does in Antarctica, or the Arctic, or in the deep ocean. And working with groups like that, we've done some really fascinating work on helping them work out how blue carbon credits might work, what is the standard, because at the moment, it's just plant some kelp and that works. So what is the framework that would work around that? And we've also helped them with strategies around how they might increase their funding and strategies around how they might grow their retail bases and things like that. And then specifically, we've funded a couple of small research projects that they've done using ROVs (remotely operated vehicle) and things.

So the research piece is really aimed at either, sort of policy change through things like set frameworks and work out what the right approach might be, through to research projects where the specific outcome might be species identification, or surveys of a particular area.

We then back infrastructure projects. So, infrastructure traditionally in our world is wind farms and things like that, so we're not talking about that. There has been a real shortage of marine infrastructure for scientists to go to sea and do work. And so, the UK has two ships, the States has, I think, seven. So you think about it in worldwide terms, that's very few. So, we set up a platform that enabled anybody who owned a boat, fishermen, commercial operators, private operators, to be able to put those vessels into a platform. And it's sort of like tinder for boat owners and marine scientists and they have a great time. So those types of projects, which again, are aimed at partly educational, but partly providing the platform for research, and then the last one is funding projects where we believe that we can significantly help with conservation. And a good example there may be like the Coral Reef Alliance in the States that we provide quite a lot of capital to.

And they've done this wonderful work on figuring out how corals can become not immune but can become more resilient to climate change. And given the extent of the problem with, certainly the Great Barrier Reef, those sort of regenerative type initiatives can be transformational very hard to do, but I think they're certainly one of the leading organisations in the world doing it. Hopefully that gives you a sort of a broad brushstroke.

Lyn Tomlinson

So, there is some hard graph there in the sort of policy advocacy space, and then is there the joy in the species and the nature conservation? Because one of my previous guests said it can be quite bleak funding in climate, and this is the same – the scale of the challenge is massive. And so, funding something that brings you joy just gives you that resilience and boost. So don't worry about being strategic about it, because we need both sources of funding.

Christiana Figuerra; Insert

Well, so I would love to go to the ocean because I don't think we can not address the ocean.

Take us to the ocean. So we have, from citizens climate lobby in Sacramento, we have a great question. We hear a lot of talk about planting trees to sequester carbon, but most of our planet is covered by ocean and the ocean is absorbing most of the heat. So should we be doing more to plant and restore seaweeds, sea grasses and mangroves? That's the question to which the answer is, absolutely. Absolutely.

But just to put a few numbers onto that question, we do know that 70% of the Earth's surface is water. Is the ocean. As the listener says, we tend to focus only on land, which means we're focusing only on 30% of our surface. So, 70% is ocean and the ocean has been absorbing at least 90% of the warming that has occurred in recent decades. So, can you imagine if we have the temperatures that we have right now, highest temperatures in over 100,000 years? We would be literally frying here on the surface of the Earth if we didn't have the ocean that has been absorbing 90% of the temperature produced by greenhouse gases. Now, the question is, of course, how much more? How much more of a buffer role can the oceans play?

And the answer to that is not much more. So, oceans really play a very important part in protecting us from ourselves, basically. Protecting us from ourselves. And if we look at what grows in oceans, we could actually use the ocean to absorb 21%, more or less, but let's say 20%, of the emissions needed to get us to 1.5 degrees. How would that be done, exactly? As listener says, by restoring, protecting and managing coastal and marine ecosystems. That includes mangroves, seagrasses, salt marshes, macroalgae, reefs, because they all have an ability to sequester and store carbon.

And also, in fact, as though that were not enough, to also improve coastal resilience, and contribute to adaptation. So here we are. Oceans that are absorbing heat, can absorb carbon, and can improve our adaptation capacity. It is unbelievable that we tend to not focus on the ocean. And here's a little personal story. Many, many years ago, while I was still at the UN, someone came up to me, and I wish I knew who it was. And if there's a listener who did this for me, I would really love to know. Someone came up to me after some public speech about climate change and said, Christiana, you never talk about the ocean.

And this person gave me a little blue marble, and the person said, "Carry this with you so that you remember the ocean". And I still have that little blue marble. It comes with me every time I have it in my computer case. And it is such a beautiful reminder constantly that the oceans, oh, my gosh, the oceans, are such a friend and such an ally, and we have ignored them basically up until now.

Jasper Smith

Yeah, I think that's spot on. And I think by focusing on the money and the money flow and deploying capital through an investment process, a traditional investment process, I think you've got quite a lot of discipline in that, which is really good. And the discipline enables you to sort of, in a sense, embrace how mundane some of it might seem. Right, so when the UN publish a document on policy, it's not the most gripping read, but it's essential that somebody decodes it into a language that you and I, or certainly I, anyway, can get my head around and sort of work out whether we back. But I love the idea of just elevating the ocean message to these simple sound bites, if you like, of every second breath you take of all of climate change or all of the excess heat we've created so far has been absorbed by the ocean. And so, you end up with these sort of data points. And once you talk about those data points, it's very hard for somebody to go, well, I don't buy that, or I don't care or whatever. And once you've got someone to that point, you can get the whole system to work, because you can collect more capital into the top, and then you can deploy it to the people who are on the ground, who do this tremendous work, in some cases have extraordinary fundraising skills. But quite often, they're much better focused on doing the work that they set out to do.

Lyn Tomlinson

Yeah, there's a really brilliant example of reports that have come out that are massive, but just so important. So detox development from the World Bank came out, I think it was last week, and it's calling for reform of subsidies, which are basically killing the planet. So fossil fuel subsidies, agriculture, fishing, governments actually say direct government expenditure is totals about 1.25 trillion per annum.

Jasper Smith

Wow.

Lyn Tomlinson

And just what you could actually do with that money if you completely reform those subsidies, because that's so much money going into creating a problem that philanthropy is trying to solve. And, you'll know, the imbalance in those numbers and the actual subsidy when you take into account indirect, is something like 8 trillion. It's horrendous when you read it. And it's that point about a report that's based on research and can be extraordinarily boring for somebody. But to then take that and think, well, what do we do now as philanthropy? How do we interact with that report and what can we fund and things like that. Do you do anything around marine protection and the people you're funding in the UK? Does that research feed into marine protection?

Jasper Smith

Yeah, I think one of the most heartening things I think about the ocean is an ocean conservation is how quickly it can rebound. So, if you put a marine protected area in place and you look after that marine protected area within a tiny amount of time, in comparison, within a year or two, the regeneration of that area is extraordinary. Kelp grows obviously at its peak, a couple of feet a day in some cases. So the kelp grows, the fish come back, fish breeding accelerates and becomes bigger, so the fish stocks go up significantly. And the fact that you can have such powerful regenerative activity within a couple of years, is one of the most hopeful things I think, on the planet. And so you look at how Sylvia Earle, for instance, has done extraordinary work with her foundation in the States, creating, I think, 15 different marine protected areas. Now the UK has got a whole series of places that have been designated for marine protected areas. The problem has been how to police those marine protected areas. And to some degree there's a lot of pushbacks from some communities, fishing communities and things like that, about where they're placed and how they're managed.

So it's not perfect, but I think absolutely it's one of the great hope stories of the ocean is that you can see these profound changes.

Lyn Tomlinson; Insight

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on something really important jasper has raised here about just how fast nature recuperates when we quote 'leave it be'. And there's a really brilliant case study of this and philanthropy in action from almost a decade ago when the Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation were advised that there were literally no more fish in the sea – no more bluefin tuna in the Med, within two years, to be precise. So to try and solve that issue, they tried to get the species added to the red list, which would have made fishing illegal. But this failed unsurprisingly due to lobbying by companies and countries who had vested interests in continuing to overfish. But fortunately, the media picked this up and you can see why. It's a great headline grabber. And because of that media engagement and the efforts of the foundation, the EU implemented restrictive fishing practises. So, this joint effort between philanthropy and government meant that ultimately, the population of fish recovered and within a few years, people could go back to fishing again. And this is a really great example to me of why marine protected areas are so important.

But what's equally important as we do this is that we make sure the people affected by those areas, such as small local fishing communities, are supported and we must not rest on our laurels. Despite this great success, over 87% of fish are overfished. And the Blue Marine Foundation has highlighted that a similar fate awaits the yellowfin tuna if the percentage of catches is not sustainably reduced. But hopefully the blueprint we now have, thanks to the Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation, can be leveraged to ensure that yellowfin tuna are replenished and restored while supporting the affected fishing communities in the Indian Ocean.

Lyn Tomlinson

Exactly. And there's been a UN treaty was signed called the High Seas Treaty, which is, I mean, it's very ambitious. It's to protect 30% of the oceans by 2030. So we've got about 70, odd months to do that. And it was signed, I think, in the last couple of weeks. And we're currently at 1%, I believe, and now every country's got to ratify that and put that into law by 2025.

Jasper Smith

Yeah. And I think BBNJ (biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction) initiative, I think it's taken years and years and years. I mean, it started in 2016 or 2017, the negotiations around this, it's been a long time coming. It's fantastic that it's been done. Of course, the issue is, because it's beyond anybody's jurisdiction, it's also very hard to police. The only way of policing it is to essentially use satellites to track dark vessels and things like that. But actually, that's pretty tricky to do, it's pretty unreliable. I mean, we're beginning to see AI systems come in that can scan images very quickly and figure out what's going on. But ultimately, what would be wonderful is to see all of these MPAs (marine protected areas) created and then to see technology being used to police them in the best possible way. And obviously, we've got things like deep sea mining to worry about.

Lyn Tomlinson

Yes, I did sign the petition.

Jasper Smith

On the one hand, there is an extraordinary volume of valuable materials at the bottom of the ocean. By picking them up, you create absolute chaos. It would take us back really unwind any good that's being done.

Lyn Tomlinson

It's July, isn't it? A decision from the UK government on that. So we'll watch that space, I think. Can I talk to you about something that really winds me up?

Jasper Smith

Go for it.

Lyn Tomlinson

It's the media and your background media. So I've got a big bee in my bonnet about this at the moment, and it's really topical, because Just Stop Oil were at the ashes last night and you probably won't have seen it, but Piers Morgan was ranting at this poor Just Stop Oil person who'd gone on to try and speak to him and say, look, 'we need to tell our story, we need the media to tell the story, and you haven't been telling the story. You've been ignoring floods in Pakistan where 33 million people were displaced. You've got 5 million people, some of them children, or half of them children, who are still drinking contaminated water, because that completely destroyed the water system. And the narrative from the media is, going green is going to cost you XYZ on your boiler. So how they cover things and what they cover is a real challenge. And I just wondered, with your media background, if you're funding outside of the big David Attenborough piece, which I would love for you to tell us some more.

Jasper Smith

You know, media has always worked on trying to be sensationalist, because you're trying to create two polar opposites and play the arbitrage in the middle. So, we've created a media system that is based on manipulation anyway, and encouraged it, in a sense. So, you can't blame the editors, in a sense, for trying to create the chaos, right, because that's how they sell papers and sell ads. And fundamentally, media is a business about subscriptions and advertising, and you need your ad avails to go up and your ad rates to go up, and you need your subscriptions to stay loyal so that your churn rates not, so that you're safe.

And so if you look at media in that context, you begin to see why they play the games. If you bring it back to climate change, the most sensationalist thing that media can do is deny climate change is there and let the chaos breed. And you have people like Piers Morgan, who's very vocal and very anti any sort of conservation movements and things like that, and so it's natural for the media to want to pick up on that. And, look, we find my view is every journalist I know, every media person I know, is passionately, supportive or of climate change mitigation changing strategies and shifting the dialogue.

But I agree with you, it's a really confrontational space at the moment. It's very difficult for protest groups to feel safe in the media world, so they put their head up and get shot down. They're generally very young people, so they're our kids and things who are like, 'let's go, let's go, let's try and do something'. So, yeah, I think it's really unfortunate, it's very unfair. And what we do need to do is try and push these organisations, in a sense, to play the game a little bit better and to become better media organisations themselves. I can't remember who it was, I think it was Yvonne Kushnard, who was the CEO of Patagonia, and he said – and this is like 20 years ago – he said 'to be brilliant, now, as an organisation, you've got to be a media company. So irrespective of what you make or sell, your primary job is to be a media company'. And I think on the climate change side of things, that's what we need to be. We need to think like a media company. And that's really where 10% [for the oceans] came from. It's like think of it like a campaign. So put a campaign siege mentality into it. Make it really bite-sized, really simple for people to get. Get people immersed and then things start to happen. But I share your frustration. Obviously some papers are better than others, but it's a significant issue.

Lyn Tomlinson

It's just the level of anger, I think, that it's creating at the moment. There's a really interesting so the chap I said, his son locked him – I love that story – locked him in the house and said, 'you need to sort your life out or sort the plan it out'. They did a brilliant piece of research which said if you ask people in Florida to sign a petition about getting to net zero. Five times more people will sign the petition if you say, 'do you want to save Florida from the floods?' Than if you go, do you want to get to net zero? So the same thing. So it's five times cheaper. He was saying to and it's something ridiculous like $12 a person to get those people engaged in it. So your point about thinking about climate as a market, we should be marketing it much, much better. And we've completely missed the track. I mean, in the financial services world, when we went to decarbonization temperature alignment, I mean, none of it makes any sense to anyone, even us. We've got to do something,  haven't we? We've got to talk about climate a lot better.

Jasper Smith

Yeah, I think and we lost so much time by overcomplicating it and by making it feel sort of it's over there. It's a bit scientific and no one really understood it. Apple do it so well, they bring out a product that's a super complex product and make it super simple for people to get and pack it in a nice box and everyone wants to pay a fortune for it. And that's exactly the job with climate change is: put it in a lovely box, wrap it in a bow, make everybody want to buy one or have one or own it or be part of it, and that journey becomes easier. We need the best brand people in the world sat down around table trying to work out. So if there's any big ad execs listening, that's what we need you to do. Yeah, let's get around the table.

Lyn Tomlinson

Brilliant. Love it. Well, it's been really brilliant talking to you. We're going to finish and wrap up, but I call this podcast Practical Philanthropy for a reason. So, I always ask my guests for some practical guidance that people can just take away. So, what would you like to end with?

Jasper Smith

The journey from entrepreneur to philanthropy, I think for most entrepreneurs, feels a very natural one, but it's sort of like any path fraught with bumps and rocks and things like that. And so, I think my advice would be find a group of people that you trust to bounce ideas off and work with. And philanthropy, obviously, tonnes of people need support and access to capital, so there's no shortage in places where philanthropy can go. But I think it's a long road and it takes a huge amount of energy and I think you've got to feel that it's sustainable for you as an individual. And that's why if you become public, it's then quite a lot of, I've got to go out, I've got to do this, I've got to go and do this. So I think that's the thing is just be quite decisive about what it is you want to be doing over five to ten years or something. And I would look at it as on a five or ten-year horizon. But I have to say, it's like growing a business, but I have to say, it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

Jasper Smith

And then in terms of the ocean, I guess my realisation when I looked at ocean conservation was that it was hugely fragmented. And so, I solved, in my mind, I was looking at it as a business, sort of going, as a business, you would build the 'Go compare' type model and give people one destination where they can back all the charities through a single donation. And I think that's the essence of what all philanthropy and all initiatives around climate change need to try and do is just what is the simplest point of access, because the complexity of it is beyond most of us.

Lyn Tomlinson

Brilliant.

Lyn Tomlinson; Outro

I really enjoyed speaking to Jasper today. What shone through for me is you can really hear and see the entrepreneur in him reflected in his philanthropy. And by that I mean that willingness to take risk, to back new people and new ideas and projects, and to bring the classic problem solving skills entrepreneurs naturally have to the table. Instead of thinking about competing for a fraction of an even tinier fraction of funding, jasper is focused on growing the amount of capital that goes towards ocean philanthropy by creating, as he puts it, the 'Go Compare' of the philanthropy world. And it's not often that we get such a direct call to action from a podcast guest. But, hey, you never know if there really are any big ad execs out there. Let's get you around the table to work out how we can market the climate crisis in a way that can bring everyone along. And finally, I couldn't resist playing the excerpt from 'Outrage And Optimism', one of my favourite climate podcasts, Cristiano Figuerra's anecdote about the blue marble, really stuck with me. Perhaps we all need to carry one to constantly remind us of how vital the oceans are to us all.

Alternatively, remember, every second breath you take has been gifted to you by the ocean. And we are coming up to our final episode of this Practical Philanthropy series. And next time, we are shifting our focus back to people. 51% of people, in fact, as we explore the challenges that face women and girls here in the UK. And why are we starting with the UK? Because it's the 110th most unequal country in the world. Despite being one of the richest.

I explore this rather shocking fact, amongst others, with the wonderful CEO of Rosia, the foundation for Women and Girls. Until then, you can reach me at lyn.tomlinson@cazenovcapital.com.

Thank you very much to our audience for listening. And a huge thank you to Editor in Chief Laura Keeble of Cazenove Capital and Mike Green of Schroders Creative, who turn our ruminations into this hopefully inspiring podcast.

This article is issued by Cazenove Capital which is part of the Schroders Group and a trading name of Schroder & Co. Limited, 1 London Wall Place, London EC2Y 5AU. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. 

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Authors

Lyn Tomlinson
Head of Impact and Philanthropy

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