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 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 mean 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 WasteParley 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 been working on something new that benefits them both: shoes that made of recycled plastic removed from the oceans.
A 3D-printed prototype of the shoes was printed last year. 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. The success of the prototype means come mid-November, 7,000 pairs of Adidas shoes made from ocean plastic will be available in stores and online. Adidas hopes to make one million pairs of shoes using Parley’s plastic in 2017.
Currently, the upper part of the shoe is made from 95% ocean plastic from the region near 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. Investing in partnerships and projects like this is what keeps industries competitive and helps encourage new and sustainable ideas.
Solar Investments 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 should take 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 2016, the cost was $1.65 million USD per megawatt—lower than wind power. These countries stand to become leaders in an emerging industry and are investing accordingly. China has already invested $103 billion in solar energy projects, which is more than the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan’s contributions combined.
What’s more is that prices are dropping at auctions where firms bid against each other for energy contracts. This January, an India contract for solar supply power was as low as $64 per megawatt-hour: seven months later in August, that price had dropped to $29.10, making it roughly half the price of coal with the added benefit of reducing the emissions that make fossil fuels unsustainable.
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 Sustainable, green energy alternatives and business practices are th
e 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.