Bruce Usher, Columbia Business School adjunct professor and Executive in Residence, is the former CEO of EcoSecurities, where he and his firm promoted the development of carbon credit markets under the Kyoto Protocol. The firm, which was acquired by JP Morgan in late 2009, is also responsible for the creation of many clean development mechanism methodologies for the UN. Prior to his work at EcoSecurities, Professor Usher worked as the CEO of TreasuryConnect, an electronic trading solutions company, and as the COO of the Williams Capital Group, and was a VP at Lehman Brothers in both New York City and Tokyo.
What made you interested in the field of sustainable development, particularly in the field of carbon credits trading?
To be honest, my brother got me interested in this field. When I was in business school, it was not something I was really interested in - I'm not sure there even was a field [at that time]. After graduation I spent 10 years in finance on Wall Street and ended up selling a very small financial company in 2001. Afterwards, I had some time to myself. My brother, who worked for the United Nations, was previously a solar engineer and I posed a question to him about how finance was being used to address renewables and climate change. My expectation was that there would be a lot of people already doing that, but what I found was the opposite. However, people in the industry were really open to working with me, and learning about how financial tools and expertise could be of value to them. So at the end of 2001, I was introduced to one of the founders of EcoSecurities, and a few months later, I took the position of CEO at the company. I think a lot of things that you end up doing in life are very much influenced by siblings and friends. You get influenced as you go along.
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