Our world is changing, and the way we do business and invest needs to change with it. We are shifting toward a more sustainable infrastructure out of necessity, and with this change comes new opportunities, as well as new challenges. Many companies and governments have already taken steps toward investing in a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future with global growth and reduced poverty. With Falcons Rock Impact Investments, you can help them with their missions while getting returns of your own.
What Needs to Be Done
Today’s technology is building the future, for better or worse. This includes our buildings and public transportation systems, the energy grids that give us the ability to run those systems, and the water supply and sanitation management that make modern life possible. Long-term structures need to be constructed thoughtfully to avoid causing additional harm—and with a bit of care, they can even reverse the damage.
For this to happen though, governments, businesses, and other institutions need to begin building with sustainability in mind. This can happen by investing in infrastructure projects that meet the guidelines laid out in the Paris Agreement and keep those guidelines in mind moving forward.
Smart and sustainable investments means creating a culture in our cities and communities where we can be productive and healthy while taking care of the natural world.
Green bonds provide the financing that emerging markets need to finance low-carbon infrastructure developments. Sustainable investment opportunities also address the price distortions in the fossil fuel industry, keep politicians accountable for their governance and management of such projects, provide new tools for investments, and invest in clean technology innovations necessary to make green developments more feasible.
These sound like daunting goals, and they are. But any green innovation, project, or policy is a step in the right direction, no matter how small a step.
Here are ways that green thinkers and innovators have already started their own projects—and inspired others to compete for conscientious investors’ dollars.
Recycling Ocean Waste
Parley for the Oceans is an organization dedicated to reducing the high amount of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. You might not expect them to partner up with shoe manufacturer Adidas on a sustainable project, but they’ve developed products that benefit them both: shoes and sportwear that are made of recycled plastic removed from the oceans.
A 3D-printed prototype of a sneaker was printed in 2015. Adidas and Parley for the Oceans had two goals in mind with this demonstration: they wanted to help change how manufacturing and industry could rethink the design process, and they wanted to lay out a new idea for stopping plastic pollution in the oceans. Adidas sold over one million pairs of shoes using Parley’s plastic in 2017, five million in 2018, and will produce 11 million pairs in 2019!
Currently, the upper part of the shoe is made from 95% ocean plastic from the region near the Maldives, and the remaining portions of the shoe are made from other recycled materials. Their goal is to completely eliminate virgin plastic from their supply chain—meaning less plastic in the environment and oceans. Adidas now also offers an entire line of sportwear made from recycled materials and has signed on to the Climate Protection Charter for the Fashion Industry, with a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. Investing in partnerships and projects like this is what keeps industries competitive and helps encourage new and sustainable ideas.
As an alternative to fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, solar is shaping up to be a cost-effective source of energy, especially in lower-income countries. For an industry that was in its infancy just five years ago, it’s experiencing significant growth. Companies and governments alike are taking note of the decreasing price of solar energy.
Energy prices, as a rule, fluctuate and solar is no exception. With solar energy, in particular, the cost will depend on the sunshine in the region and any existing subsidies and energy contracts. But between falling equipment costs, new business models, an increase in investments opportunities, and a wider movement toward clean energy policies, solar and other renewable energy sources stand to succeed where fossil fuels haven’t; and ultimately become a better source of energy.
The average price of solar energy has decreased significantly in the 60 countries (including China, India, and Brazil) where it has been embraced. In 2018, the average cost of solar energy in North America was $50 per megawatt hour—lower than coal, gas and nuclear. Countries that embrace renewable energy stand to become leaders in an emerging industry and are investing accordingly. In 2017, China invested over $126 billion in renewable energy projects, which is 45% of global investment.
Powering the world on alternative energy sources is possible. Scotland managed to generate enough energy through wind power to sustain itself for an entire day, and Portugal managed to power itself on renewable sources of energy for four days. It’s not possible for anything, including fossil fuel use, to disappear overnight, but with investments in the right places, prices can be reduced, technology developed, and eventually, governments will commit to taking the steps toward a sustainable and green energy future.
Sustainable Investing with Falcons Rock Impact Investments
Sustainable, green energy alternatives and business practices are the future. They’re good for the planet and the economy, so there’s a lot to love. Protecting our future requires a great deal of innovation in the present, and that innovation can’t happen in a vacuum.
Even if you’re not a large company or part of a world government, you can make a difference by focusing on sustainable investments and green bonds. These provide both financial returns as well as environmental and social benefits. To learn more about our process or to get started with impactful investing, click here.