The World’s Clean Tech Billionaires Lost One-Quarter of Their Wealth

The collective fortunes of the 15 groups of moguls on Bloomberg’s “Green Billionaires” list, including the world’s richest person, Elon Musk, lost $141 billion as markets turn

Not long ago, demand for renewable energy, electric vehicles and all kinds of greener technologies was creating wealth beyond measure.
By Danny Lee, Sheryl Tian Tong Lee and Venus Feng
June 09, 2022 | 05:43 PM

Bloomberg — Not long ago, demand for renewable energy, electric vehicles and all kinds of greener technologies was creating wealth beyond measure. Now the richest people in green sectors are seeing their billions evaporate.

The 15 groups of moguls on Bloomberg’s “Green Billionaires” list, which includes the world’s richest person, Elon Musk, have seen their collective fortunes drop by $141 billion over the past seven months, wiping out roughly one-quarter of their net worth. The 15 biggest tech billionaires, a list that also includes Musk, have by comparison lost 23% of their worth, while the world’s top 500 richest tycoons have lost 14% of their wealth over the same period.

6 People Driving Change in Climate Science, Tech and Policy

Green billionaires are at the center of several factors that are weighing on markets. Inflation is hitting growth stocks, including clean tech. The price of raw materials for electric vehicles has surged, accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And 20 of the 23 green tycoons tracked by Bloomberg made their fortunes in China, where the overall economy is still held back by frequent and punishing Covid-19 lockdowns.

The billionaires are also seeing a retreat from sky-high valuations in the last year, particularly for Chinese companies. After the world’s biggest polluter — and its biggest green manufacturing hub — committed to peaking emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, clean tech stocks soared. Tesla Inc. (TSLA) battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (or CATL as it is better known), for example, became China’s second-biggest stock in November, up an eye-watering 2,600% since its 2018 initial public offering.


Since that peak, CATL’s market value has plunged just over 30%, erasing close to $30.5 billion from the personal fortunes of its senior executives. Founder and chairman Robin Zeng Yuqun has lost $20.1 billion.

Say Goodbye to Clean Energy’s Era of Constantly Falling Prices
CATL's Robin Zeng Yuqun, left, and Nio's Li Bin.dfd

CATL rival, Eve Energy Co., also lost a third of its market value over roughly the same period, and founder Liu Jincheng shed $5.1 billion. The worst-hit billionaire in percentage terms, Nio Inc. CEO Li Bin, saw 52% of his wealth wiped out over the past seven months.

“It’s a unique turning point,” Alexander Chan, Invesco’s Asia-Pacific head of ESG client strategy, said in an interview. “A period where money is being taken out of green stocks after enjoying gains over the past couple of years. Investors are being extra cautious in current times of volatility and the inflationary environment. Right now, I do not see an immediate rebound.”


The only billionaire to escape the wealth plunge is Anthony Pratt, the executive chairman of Australian paper packaging maker Visy Industries, whose fortune has grown by 15% to $10.2 billion. Sales at Visy’s US sister company, Pratt Industries Inc., boomed during Covid lockdowns.

Regardless, China’s EV manufacturers, battery makers and clean energy firms are still forging ahead. China, the world’s biggest market for electric cars, is rolling out fiscal measures to boost growth, and Beijing’s climate commitments bode well for the longer term.

What’s more, most of these companies have ample cash. The firms, like their billionaire founders, are still much richer than they were two years ago.

Read More: How Robots Can Help Build Offshore Wind Turbines More Quickly