RDJ leading an investment fund to support green tech.
Words By Lucy Evans
Robert Downey Jr- a man of many talents. From starring as Charlie Chaplin in the epic biopic ‘Chaplin’, to the ever steely Iron Man in the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with much more acclaim in between. But he is now shifting his focus towards a greener future, by founding and leading the ‘Footprint Coalition’, a new partnership committed to ‘scaling technologies to restore our planet’. The firm was launched on the 27th January and already has made steps to reach their goals.
In a quote on their website from Downey Jr states “In 11 years, when I’m 65, if we make a noble dent in what I consider is a massive threat to our future – the mess we leave behind – I’m going to come back, and I’m going to throw the nuttiest retirement party you’ve ever seen, and all of you are invited.”.
The firm intends to join together investors, donors, and ‘storytellers’ to invest in sustainable business, making charitable grants alongside investments in order to ‘restore our environment’. They state that the climate crisis is ‘a monstrous problem requiring collective inspiration, imagination, and invention to solve.’.
They also intend to get the public involved, by mobilising them using curated content, in order to support sustainable businesses.
The firm has already invested in multiple businesses, including Ynsect, which uses mealworms to create fertiliser, and aims to convert food waste into food suitable for general consumption, and Cloud Paper, which creates bamboo toilet paper as part of their mission to save a billion trees.
Their charitable grants are as of yet focused on three main areas- cellular agriculture, microplastics, and conservation tech. Each of these areas are major focuses for climate activists worldwide, with it being estimated that in 2050 there will be more plastics in the sea than fish (by weight).
Downey Jr states that he hopes that some of the businesses he backs will produce technology that has a real impact on the world – “and I would feel like I had some small part in that.”. He also said that he hopes to use his existing social media following to “tell a story about climate change”, stating “I realised a few years ago that I’d amassed a pretty wide audience, I guess you call them followers nowadays. And it seemed like just posting more videos of me dancing with my alpaca wasn’t really moving the conversation on this existential threat.”.
It is clear from his statements that Downey Jr wants to shift the collective focus onto this current climate crisis. On the 8th February he was featured on a special Superbowl edition of Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, discussing the insect protein created by Ynsect, stating that Ynsect is an “innovation”, and making the switch to insect protein would be a “huge intervention”.