Monaco Life publisher Eric Brundage interviewed Lionel Le Maux, CEO of Aqua Asset Management, founder and co-producer of the Monaco Transition Forum, held on June 26, 2018.
“I am a convinced investor in sustainable businesses since 1999, having developed this activity through the 21st Century until today, advising private investors, targeted entrepreneurs and family-led investors to invest in sustainable clean equities and industries.
“I have been working with products such as wind-produced energy, biogas and biomass, and especially, in the past seven or eight years, with solar and wind industries.
“To give an example of a company present at the Forum: Biogas, with Evergaz company, is a good example of a business opportunity with exponential growth within a 10 years turnover.
“Today, 85 per cent of my company business is done with family investors.
“One of the great missions of transition management is to look for companies who really want a transition from one world to another, and helping them to achieve their own transition.
“After some years, I eventually started a more formal company: Aqua Asset Management. The name of the company is from a restaurant in Hong Kong, Aqua, where everything started – with the idea coming out of a group formed of some of my partners and myself.
“We decided to focus on clean equities with two convictions:
“First, that we were living with sustainability and climate transition currently – the equivalent turning point that was the internet revolution 10 or 15 years ago.
“If I try to explain that, I would say that, nowadays, all the enterprises, governments and individuals in the world need to have internet integrated in their lives in order to work and produce. Internet started to expand In the world around 2000 and, 18 years later, no companies can be sustainable without a digital strategy.
“Well, we think that we are facing the same turning point today concerning the clean industries and clean equities. It goes with the new generations. They are already thinking in terms of ‘how clean is that company, that country or that equity’.
“Five or seven years ago, sustainability was just a communication issue in seminars. People wanted to appear like ‘green companies’.
“Today, mobility, building, chemicals, agriculture, basically all economic sectors are affected by this transition. Today we want Chief Sustainability Officers to appear in enterprises.
“It will now go from something ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’. Because we believe that we are dealing now with a new ‘Environmental People Generation’.
“The Second conviction is to pinpoint the similarities and to gather people for this particular event from different origins: civil society, entrepreneurs, investment dedicated companies, big events organisers and startups.
“To protect the ecosystem, we have to involve a lot of different actors from different horizons to accelerate the transition.
“We must keep in mind that this is a ‘capitalistic transition’, replacing one world for another. To illustrate this, I like using the image of young people investing in buying a house instead of paying rent. It is the same idea with promoting clean energies. So, this event is first and foremost educational. It is possible to imagine adding clean equity to this event in the years to come.”
“Because one of our investors proposed to bring the event to Monaco, putting us in contact with Prince Albert II Foundation’s officials. Then, Mr Richard Attias accepted to be the organiser of the Forum.
“We chose Monaco for being a special place in the world, with a sovereign highly interested in promoting sustainable transition, and where decisions are quicker and easier to achieve.
“We have more than 500 participants this year, with 50 speakers coming from all around the world.
“Just today, HSH Prince Albert II and Paris Mayor Mrs Anne Hidalgo announced that the next Olympic Games in Paris, in 2024, are going to be clean and green. They signed a unique and global partnership on sustainability for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“For the moment, this Forum is held once a year here in Monaco and will stay based in the Principality. Setting other small local forums, on a specific subject, in other cities could be interesting but it is still under discussion.”