There’s a fundamental issue with investing in America: Your money might support companies that harm people and the planet, and you probably don’t even realize it.
When we buy products, say for example a smartphone — we’re essentially giving that company a ‘thumbs up’ in approval.
We’re saying, ‘Hey, I like what you’re doing, and here’s more money to keep doing it…’
Well, the same can be true for investing.
When we buy stocks, we’re saying that we approve of that company’s products and policies.
What if I told you the majority of retirement accounts and index funds invest in big oil, coal mining, and tobacco… and the list goes on and on.
Would you give these industries a ‘thumbs up?’
If we look at the state of the world, we can see we’re not always funding what’s best for the planet.
So let’s look at some crazy numbers:
In 2018, over 480,000 people died from tobacco.
We’re actively pumping 96,000 oil and gas wells on public lands for fossil fuels that create 2/3rds of our carbon emissions.
And we dump 1.5 million pounds of trash into our oceans every hour.
So, if we care about climate change, we can stop funding fossil fuels.
And if we want to prevent lung cancer, let’s stop investing in tobacco.
Look, it’s simple. If we want to see change in the world, we don’t have to wait every four years to vote.
We can vote every day by choosing what products we buy, and investing in the things that we care about. It’s called impact investing.
With impact investing, your money supports companies that solve global challenges, instead of causing them.
And if you’re wondering — Yes. Investing with impact also means good business.
Studies show that stocks of companies with high environmental and social impact have actually outperformed the market for 25 years.
So, if we don’t have to compromise our values to build our wealth, then what are we doing?
While countries around the world agree to partake in clean energy solutions, the United States government has made the startling decision to remove itself from global climate change and environmental sustainability efforts. Many of the recent administration changes have rolled back Obama-era policies positioned at reducing environmental carcinogens and pollution, combating the ever-increasing (and real) threat to our climate, and placing trust in fossil fuels and energy methods that have no promise of long-term significance. The plans are, at best, short-sighted.
Here are the facts.
97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring. And you guessed it. The cause is human activity.
There are detrimental impacts of climate change. And we’re just starting to see them.
Climate change and global warming can be stopped. But we have to start now.
We know how to mitigate and adapt. We have the tools: renewables.
The Job Myth
The government is basing their position on economic and job opportunities. We can absolutely be on board with that. If it made sense. Promises to create more coal jobs remain unfulfilled. Pipeline and drilling efforts remain blocked in litigation. Although, how these jobs are best for worker, consumer, or environmental health is an entirely different story. The reality is that jobs are coming from technology. Not from non-sustainable industries.
Around 50,000 individuals are working in the coal industry. There are over 250,000 employed by the US solar energy industry. In the last decade, solar has grown at an annual rate of over 50%. Cities across the country are adapting their own environmental policies in the absence of national and international ones. Faced with increasing extreme weather events, cities are investing in the sustainable infrastructure in terms of agriculture and clean drinking water, power and electricity sources, temperature increases, and disaster mitigation.
Solar is just one option. Most involve sunlight in some fashion – billions of years old, it’s not going anywhere. But others, like wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass sources are just barely being scratched. Learning how to use these sources correctly, cost-effectively, and getting them mainstream offers unlimited possibility for future job positions.
Another big myth to renewable energy consumption is cost. In fact, the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% over the last decade. Imagine what the industry could do with government-backing, media involvement, and consumer adoption.
Now take Tesla as a fantastic experiment in consumer advocacy and the power and influence of the oil industry. Even through tremendous amounts of exaggerated, negative publicity, Tesla has managed to not only create a sustainable automobile, they’ve managed to create one that has high value and adoption by the average consumer. With the recent release of their Model 3, they’ve also seen to create at a price point that rivals (and often beats) the average of most automobile makers in America. Again, imagine how the industry could change with support.
The reality is that all change has to start somewhere. The most effective way to make a change is to support the companies changing the world for good. In our environmental portfolio, we’ve identified companies that profit from fossil fuels and non-sustainable practices. You won’t find them. Instead, you’ll find technology-driven and fast-growing companies with a mission to not only succeed in their industry but environmental efforts as well.
Want to learn more about impact investing and how you use your money for good? Get in touch.
As we’ve seen over the past year, there is no longer any reason or excuse to deny that climate change exists. Extreme weather events have become the norm, global temperatures are rising, and glaciers are retreating around the world. We are constantly being warned that if our fossil fuel consumption, energy levels, and habits don’t change, we’ll continue to see devastating climate effects – including severe temperature changes yet this century.
While a small, but vocal, minority cling to the mindset that “if it’s cold where I am, global warming can’t possibly be real”. In truth, weather and climate are two very different phenomena. The recent rise in “polar vortex” conditions allows this myth to cling while in reality, global warming is actually the cause behind the record-low temperatures and extreme weather events we’ve been growing accustomed to.
The Green New Deal Outline
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, and Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass, have proposed a potential framework for both climate change and economic policy dubbed the “Green New Deal”.
The proposed solutions are big and bold. Yet, they aren’t near as big as the threat climate change presents to our current standard of living.
Proposed as a 10-year plan, the Green New Deal calls for:
- “Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”
- Upgrading all existing buildings in the United States for energy efficiency
- Promoting universal access to healthy food while working with farmers to decrease or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions
- Overhauling transportation systems – including expanding electric car manufacturing, charging stations, and implementing high-speed rail systems
In addition to these climate-focused agenda items, the Green New Deal is interested in progressive economic policies – including universal healthcare, access to quality and meaningful work, and other tax policies.
While the Green New Deal is proposed as more of a framework for change than a “how to” document, there is no denying the underlying issues are at least being brought up for public attention, media conversation, and potential legislative change. How long that takes is still undetermined.
Looking for what you can do now to help reduce the effects of global warming and climate change? Our environmental investment portfolio invests only in companies already taking these steps to reduce their footprint and develop sustainable energy sources. Learn more and lets #investinwhatmatters together.