20 questions with… Mark Hoskin
Mark Hoskin answers 20 questions on life, sustainability and everything.
Formerly a partner at London-based financial advisory firm Holden & Partners, he was named responsible investment adviser of the year at the unbiased.co.uk Media Awards 2014.
Hoskin is also a director at Blue & Green Communications (B&GC) – which owns Blue & Green Tomorrow and Blue & Green Investor. He helped set up sustainable investment website Worldwise Investor, which was acquired and rebranded by B&GC in September 2013.
We want the world to be as blue and green tomorrow as it was yesterday. What’s your mission?
To make a positive difference to the world around me and my children.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
All I can really remember was wanting to be scrum half for Wales in the mode of Gareth Edwards. My childhood was all about sport and my dreams and aspirations revolved around them.
How would your friends describe you?
Genuine, warm, glass half full, direct and a good sense of humour.
What was your ‘road to Damascus moment’ in terms of sustainability?
I am not sure I have ever had a ‘road to Damascus’ moment. It has been more of a gradual progression. I started advising on ethical investment in the early 2000s and so I have been exposed to the ideas around sustainability for a long time.
Who or what inspires you?
What really grinds your gears?
People who litter. What makes people think that is OK?
Describe your perfect day.
This is a bit difficult at the moment as I am on a European vacation and so somewhat absented from reality. I think, though, a perfect day would involve the sun shining; a happy good morning from my children at, say, 6:45am; a relaxed trip into work with time to mull and put together a to-do list for the day ahead; a positive bit of news in the morning on a work project; followed by an enjoyable client meeting; getting through all my emails and to-do points during the day; leaving a clean desk and inbox (there is nothing quite as liberating and relaxing as knowing that your desk and inbox are clear!); home at 5pm in time to put the kids to bed by 7pm; the babysitter comes around and my wife and I go out for dinner and a few drinks.
What do you see when you look out your window at home?
At the moment, home is an apartment in the Costa Brava and so it is the sea. Not unpleasant!
What do you like spending your money on?
A good bottle of wine, entertaining people for dinner and my kids. I don’t aspire to have cars, watches or anything like that.
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
I don’t know that the venue needs to be any particular place. It might involve snow, but I do know that sitting in the sun, overlooking a cool view with a beer in my hand would be a must.
What’s your favourite book?
The Grameen Bank by Muhammad Yunus. What a difference this man made and what a well written and easy read.
What’s your favourite film?
Hmm, Little Miss Sunshine. It is a great movie about people and relationships.
You’re made prime minister. What’s the first thing you do?
Set up a commission to consider the implications of changing the tax system from one based on revenue earned to one based on carbon used and property utilised.
If you were stuck on a desert island, which famous person would you like to be stuck with and why?
At the moment, how about Putin, because if he was on a desert island with me he would not be able to rule Russia and send the mob into Ukraine. I could go to one end of the island and he could go to the other! At least then the world might be a better place.
What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given? And the worst?
My father, who believed anything is possible if you put yourself in a position to make things happen. He encouraged me to call an Oxford don to set up a meeting to talk about going to the University of Oxford when it didn’t seem a very likely outcome. “What have you got to lose?” was the rationale. He was right and it changed my life.
I am not sure I remember any bad advice – a few bad decisions, but that is not what you asked!
What would you like to be doing five years from now?
Working with intelligent, motivated, team-orientated people in a business in which I felt empowered and which had the potential both to deliver good financial returns and make a positive change to either people or the environment.
What’s your biggest regret?
I don’t really have big regrets because I have never felt compelled to do things which I did not want to do. My father used to say, “You play the cards you are dealt”, and I have always been a good card player. One clear regret I have is hurting my brother’s hand when he and I were about 10 and 8, prior to a family photo. Every time I look at that family photo I can remember him being upset and regretting that I had hurt him.
What one thing would you encourage readers to do to make their life more sustainable?
Turn the heating down and wear a jumper more often.
What’s the one idea that you think could change the world for the better?
Our main problem both environmentally and socially is energy. If, as a society, we can create energy sufficient to meet all our needs from renewable sources at a local level then the world would become a friendlier, safer and cleaner place for us and future generations.
What’s your favourite quote?
“You’re my best daddy in the whole world” – Max, aged 4.
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