Peter Boyd Talks Climate Change Initiatives on Startup Grind Stage

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Peter Boyd works to curb climate change in unique ways.

His non-profit organization, Time4Good, requests donations from entrepreneurs and, in exchange, delivers advice on their business plans. About 90 percent of the revenue goes toward organizations whose demand far outreaches their supply in missions addressing climate change.

Last month, Boyd drew on more than 15 years of marketing, strategy and management experience on the Startup Grind New Haven stage. Startup Grind New Haven’s new Executive Director Nick Caplan moderated the conversation.

Also an executive fellow at the Center for Business and Environment at Yale University, the Scotland native recalled his work history to a crowd of local entrepreneurs.

Boyd enrolled at the University of Oxford at just 17 years old, graduating with a degree in philosophy, economics and politics at 20 years old. With time to spare, he traveled to 14 countries over the next year before starting his career at McKinsey & Co., a global management and consulting firm.

“I didn’t really know what I was going to do until…actually I still don’t know, I’m still trying to figure it out,” Boyd said, joking about his career’s ascent.

Traveling the world and working for McKinsey almost resembled earning a second degree, Boyd said of learning during those three years.

After leaving the McKinsey group, he spent the next 12 years working 10 different positions for Virgin Mobile in South Africa—including serving as CEO and then vice president of marketing at Virgin Mobile USA.

In 2009, Boyd began as launch director for the Carbon War Room: a climate think tank co-founded by Richard Branson, a globally known investor and philanthropist who also established the Virgin group.

At Virgin, Branson, Boyd and others began discussing underserved global issues. Addressing environmental protection spawned from those collaborations, and Boyd was tasked with launching the effort until leaving his post in 2014. The Carbon War Room would begin empowering entrepreneurs to work more efficiently in creating post-carbon solutions.

“Climate change is one of the biggest market failures I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It’s the most precious non-renewable resource we have—it’s running out.”

The successes of the Carbon War Room encouraged Boyd to form his own group, Time4Good, which secures capital for groups like Branson’s, while also advising entrepreneurs on solving market failures and maximizing their time for a greater affect of climate issues.

“Time4Good is effectively trying to maximize leaders’ time for good,” he said of the Westport-based organization, founded in October 2014. “I thought a small team with a little bit of money could actually make a huge amount of positive damage to a big problem. You can get something done with a small team.”

Once a charitable donation is received, Boyd schedules an advisory meeting with clients, reviewing their business plans and setting them on a more efficient course to impose change.

He explained these principals in detail while delivering a TED Talk in 2016.

About 70 percent of Time4Good’s revenue is given to Branson-owned charities, Boyd has said, while 10 percent goes toward the buyer, and 10 percent to charities of Boyd’s choice.

He urged the audience to find what they’re passionate about, relying on their instincts to guide their decisions.

“Quite often I find that the people I’m chatting to they can get to the passion if they reunite their brain and their gut,” Boyd said. “The real world thrives on gut instinct. If you can keep the conversation going, I think that’s what is really powerful and that’s where you find passion.”

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