Profile: Jon Anda '80
different kind of banker
Anda '80 takes on climate crisis with markets
carbon regulation is "the most important climate issue
in the world," says Jon Anda '80, president of
the environmental markets network at Environmental Defense,
a nonprofit whose mission is to solve pressing environmental
problems with the tools of business, science and policy.
enrolled in the Kellogg School's One-Year MBA Program immediately
after completing his undergraduate degree. "It was 1979,
1980, and we were in the middle of an energy crisis,"
he says, adding that he had a strong interest in renewable
energy and considered a career with the U.S. Environmental
energy prices plummeted and funding for renewables dried up,
so Anda took a different path that led him to a distinguished
financial services career, including at Morgan Stanley. "My
20 years at Morgan Stanley really gave me the option to do
a lot of different things, including staying at the firm,"
he says. Instead, Anda decided to take a leadership position
at Environmental Defense, where he was previously a member
of the president's advisory council. His work there combines
about science, politics and policy," says Anda. Since
its inception in 1967, Environmental Defense has earned accolades
from sources as disparate as Wired magazine and The
Economist. It has been instrumental in a number of well-known
and successful public-policy changes, including the 1972 ban
on the chemical DDT and the 1990 Clean Air Act.
organization brings together scientists, lawyers, business
leaders and policy experts to work toward the common goal
of preserving the natural world. Anda says he and his colleagues
check their personal politics at the door. "We never
get involved in partisan politics," he says, adding that
the cohesiveness of the diverse group speaks to the urgency
of the issues it addresses.
example, Anda says, the United States needs to reduce its
carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 to stave off the worst
effects of global climate change. "These are big, big
numbers." Though some businesses have already started
to go green, reducing or pledging to reduce emissions voluntarily,
Anda maintains that they won't be able to avert crisis on
their own: "You won't see the voluntary system grow in
the United States to meet the challenge. It will not happen.
Not even close."
to the experts at Environmental Defense, many business leaders
agree. "It's very rare when you have businesses across
a variety of industries come together in favor of comprehensive
regulation," says the Kellogg graduate. As the reality
of global climate change becomes sharper, he explains, business
leaders know they'll have to learn to succeed in an emissions-restricted
environment. The sooner they know what the limits are, the
quicker they can start figuring out how to meet them.
Defense advocates a cap-and-trade system as a necessary first
step. "We want a cap on emissions in the United States
— a cap on our emissions that reduces over time and
a trading system that is linked to the global trading system,"
the consequences of climate change may seem insurmountable
to the untrained observer, Anda's outlook is positive. "It's
very, very rewarding," he says. "I love my work.
I love doing something for others and not just for my wallet."
adds that for all the cosmetic differences between working
at an international financial services firm and a nonprofit
aimed at protecting the environment, the particulars of his
work are not actually so different.
really practicing my trade in a different context," says
Anda. "I feel like I'm a capital markets banker to the