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.
In 2017, global carbon emissions climbed to a record high. Just this month, a report was released by the United Nations urgently warning that in order to prevent further increased global warming, dramatic steps were going to need to be taken. They estimated that human activities have caused an increase of 33.8°F of global warming compared to pre-industrial levels. If this continues at the current rate, as 2017 data indicates, it could reach an increase of 34.7°F by as early as 2030!
Potential Impacts of Climate Change
So what does this change in temperature mean, exactly? Well, scientists have high confidence that not only who this create an increase in mean temperature, but hot extremes, a probability of increased drought, decreased precipitation, and an increase in sea level. Further impacts due to these considerations include an increase in wildfires and destruction of homes and habitats, species loss and extinction, and risks to health, livelihood, and food and water sustainability.
That sounds terrifying. What can I do?
To halt climate change at the current rate, it is going to take not only a national movement but a grassroots acceptance and lifestyle changes. We’ve put together a list of things you can do within your daily life to help mitigate climate change on a local level – share, tell your friends, and together we can make being green a popular choice.
- Choose Green Transportation
Fossil fuel use is one of the largest human contributors to global warming. Stop and consider the difference in emissions if every person who owned a car changed over to an electric or hybrid vehicle, ride-shared, or choose energy-efficient public transportation. While this may not be a cost-effective avenue for you just yet, take a look at the affordability of electric transportation. It’s rapidly declining, while vehicle styles are becoming popular choices for urban and suburban professionals.
- Change Your Diet
Don’t get us wrong here. Diet is not only a health choice but a very personal consideration at that. We can certainly appreciate a good Juicy Lucy here in Minnesota. However, land-intensive animal products and processing use a fair share of consumables. Consider a plant-based diet, grow a backyard garden, and eat local to help reduce your eating imprint on the world.
- Renewable Energy
A significant section of the UN report focused on renewable energy use. Their staggering requirement: that renewable energy account for 85% of electricity production by 2050, with gas energy being just 8% and coal at 0%. Solar, wind, and electrical technologies have improved significantly the last decade, but are still vastly underutilized due to the societal, economic and political pressures by large industries. At home, consider solar panels for energy generation and reach out to your local energy co-op for sustainable options.
- Invest in Sustainable Business
On a larger scale, step back and consider your investment choices. Do you know where your 401k investments are held and who they are funding? Most traditional 401ks do not support ESG (economic, social and governance) rated social investments. Rather, most focus on the very large scale businesses that are contributing to climate change with non-sustainable business practices.
Our environmental portfolio is made up of companies addressing their long-term environmental impacts, focusing on sustainable business practices, and prioritizing their effect on the surrounding environment – at a local and national level.
At Invested Interests, we believe that a national conversation regarding the truth about climate change needs to be brought to light, across party lines, for the good of our lives and the lives of future generations.
Questions about our climate change or environmental investment portfolios? Ready to get started with no minimum investment? Request a FREE impact investment consultation, and we’ll be in touch!