This debut book by a senior FT journalist is a near-perfect guide for anyone interested in sustainable investing, but readers looking for simple answers may be disappointed. Young Money hired Matt Bain, the target reader for this book, to give us his judgment …
Most of us are very aware of the grim environmental picture our planet has to face. Alice Ross’ book gives cause for hope. Solutions to climate change are firmly on the agenda, and Bank of America predicts that global spending on these solutions could double from $ 1 billion to $ 2 billion by 2025.
Despite the devastating impact of COVID on the global economy, these solutions are central to many government stimulus packages, and COVID could actually accelerate the transition to a cleaner, greener, workplace-based economy.
We also use our personal power as investors to get involved. A former niche area has gained interest over the past five years, and more and more ordinary people want to know where their money is going and translate it into sustainable strategies – 68% of us, according to a recent report from UK International Development Department.
The guide for would-be green investors
From giants of fossil fuels converting energy solutions to food / agritech startups to a variety of environmentally friendly transportation options, Invest to save the planet is the almost perfect handbook for anyone who wants to grapple with the complex world of sustainable investing.
First up, Ross unpacks everything a complete novice investor like me needs to know about the basic types of investing (I’m probably not the only average Joe whose understanding of stocks and bonds is a little hazy).
As a self-employed musician dealing with drastically reduced incomes, I identify with the millions in precarious post-COVID financial positions with little capital to risk the newest tech startup in North London going unicorn next year becomes.
“As a freelance musician, I identify with those who have little capital left over to take risks with the newest tech startup in North London.”
However, Ross enables us to fully grasp the options available and the risk involved at all levels, from safer betting to high risk gambling for those on the wealthier end of the spectrum.
Fortunately, many ordinary workers are unaware of their status as investors through their pension fund, for example – Ross’s book is invaluable in identifying the power each of us has to shape the future through our small investments.
Debunking green jargon
The new Buzz acronym is ESG: Environmental, Social and Governance funds are the ones to point out, and Ross expertly guides the reader through the range of trust houses and money managers seeking your trust, as well as the increasingly popular one “Greenwashing”. See through tactics.
But her book is sustainable investing for adults – there is no easy or easy path for the first-time innocent soul to invest conscientiously.
“There is no easy or easy way for the innocent soul first time traveling to invest conscientiousness.”
Disposal is one of the big issues that the book delves into. Are you avoiding the oil and gas giants and sticking to obviously greener companies? There’s a strong argument that you’re better off – part of the growing pressure to force these companies to switch from energy solutions, as giants like Shell and BP are likely to play an important role in the long-term transition to a carbon one. neutral economy.
You have to search for souls and set your personal priorities (and what you are willing to weigh because there will always be one). Could you invest in a climate change leader like Philip Morris who also makes Marlboro cigarettes? Why not invest in a bank that is high on the environment by committed to 100% renewable energy targets like JP Morgan? Sure, but keep in mind that they are still massive fossil fuel financiers.
The tough choices that lie ahead of us
In a book on sustainable investing, of course, Ross focuses on how the investor can prioritize the “E” of the ESG, but she makes it clear that the “S” and the “G” are often weighed up. When it comes to the ethical and governance strengths of many of the companies leading the climate solutions revolution, that’s a more complex picture.
“You have to search for souls and set your personal priorities – and what you are ready to weigh.”
One question that remained with me was to what extent people will be willing to weigh their ethical and social concerns in order to save the planet. Jeff Bezos may have plowed $ 800 million into the Bezos Earth Fund, but it’s impossible to ignore the tremendous damage his megacorps Amazon has wreaked on Main Street or overlook the murky world of its workers’ working conditions. Elon Musk’s Tesla is the figurehead for electric cars, but the lack of disclosed executive compensation and sustainability goals makes the company another dubious pick of the savior.
Then the question arises to what extent authoritarian, aggressive regimes like China could benefit from the green investment revolution. Semiconductor technology paves the way for an energy-efficient future – for example, the Pictet Clean Energy Fund has NXP Semiconductors listed in China on its list. The Chinese manufacturer of electric batteries CATL is an important player in the market and supplies companies such as Toyota and BMW.
Addressing the root causes of climate change is the most important thing we can do to save millions of lives, jobs and homes for future generations. Saving the planet is also about preserving cherished belief systems and ways of life – namely freedom of speech and democracy – that are threatened by these regimes if they expand their world power and influence.