Image credit: The Daily Mail
Dale Vince Makes the Sunday Times Rich List
Dale Vince is no stranger to hitting the headlines. From his wind-powered electric car project to challenging the UK government to step up to the climate change fight, the British entrepreneur and CEO of Ecotricity has done more than most to promote renewable energy and create a vision for a post carbon economy. When TreeHugger interviewed Dale Vince back in 2007, he made it clear that he believed there is no time to waste in building a clean, green, energy system. That's why I was delighted to see that Dale has made the Sunday Times Rich List as the 657th richest man in the UK. Dale himself, however, seems a little concerned by how this news might be viewed:
First - I've not suddenly got an awful lot of money, this £85 Million is what the ST team reckons Ecotricity is worth, and since I own that they say it's what I'm worth. I guess that's fair enough, but it is a paper thing. I suspect it is for most of the list. I did tell them BTW a few months ago (when they asked) that the value of Ecotricity was academic, because it's not and won't be for sale.
The second thing is I know this could just look plain wrong to some people - like the wind NYMBYs for example who for many years now have been saying this is all about the money not the environment etc etc. I can live with that, been living with their stupidity for a while now... I do care what some people think though. Thing I wanted to say was that, although it makes me a little uncomfortable, on the whole I think it's a good thing this Rich Listing- here's why.
To 99% of people on the street (my guess - not a researched stat..) money is the one simple and single measure of success and that holds especially true for the media. If you're rich, you're successful, so you must know something worth knowing or do something worth doing and you must be worth talking about or to. It gives you a voice, even if you're stupid, unfortunately...
It's an endorsement IMO of green electricity, of Ecotricity, of environmental and social business concepts and so on - this whole alternative way of doing things that gets talked about here and elsewhere, will look a lot more credible to a lot of people now. How much that will matter or help I can't guess, but I know that this puts green and ethical stuff up the radar, the stuff we're talking about and doing, works well. Well enough anyway for the fans of money to spot it.
Anyway that's it, I'm still me - take a pinch of salt with this Rich list thing - and please no begging e-mails, I'm actually a bit skint right now...
It's interesting to note Dale's slightly defensive tone. As a UK national myself, transplanted to the US, I suspect this may be a cultural thing - you'd be unlikely to find an American green entrepreneur apologising for his success. But I wonder also, as one commenter points out, whether Dale is trying to pre-empt the inevitable attacks from certain environmentalists who see profit as evil, no matter who is making it and how.
Feel free to deliver your verdict on such eco-capitalists below.