How Sustainable is Wealthsimple’s Socially Responsible Portfolio?

I was really excited to read that WealthSimple, one of Canada’s better-known robo-advisor services, has introduced a socially responsible investment portfolio. It’s a wonderful option for new investors, and people who simply can’t be bothered to learn how to do it themselves. Of course, me being me, I immediately opened it up to see what they mean by ‘socially responsible’.

Here’s what’s inside:

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The Potluck Economy

Imagine that instead of living in constant scarcity, we live in an economy of abundance. I see it happen all the time. All I need to do is invite people over for dinner!

When’s the last time you went to a potluck? The person who ‘won the potluck’ probably brought something ridiculously amazing and delicious, and there was lots left over.

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Radical Generosity in Action

The deadline to participate in the first round of SheEO’s Radical Generosity program is Friday Nov.27th. Act now if you want in! 

Close your eyes and imagine a world where everyone is being radically generous. Where people are giving to each other without expecting anything in return. 

It’s a completely different economy. Instead of scarcity, we have abundance. Instead of austerity, we have sharing. It changes the energy of our interactions, and brings communities closer together. 

The love economy exists, but it’s harder to measure and is readily dismissed by mainstream economists. Even what people call the ‘sharing economy’ often falls short of the mark.

I’m excited by the concept of Radical Generosity, and have decided to sponsor my sister for the SheEO initiative.

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Who’s Winning the Energy Storage Race? Spoiler alert - it’s not Tesla

I’ve been nerding out on batteries for last few weeks, compiling a list of companies that have invested more than $17 billion in R&D to innovate the next generation of energy storage devices.

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Whenever I bring up the project in the real world, people automatically want to start talking to me about Tesla. Elon Musk has done an amazing job at convincing us that he’s the Tony Stark of the green economy, and will bring us amazing batteries that look cool and smell nice. What’s interesting about the partnership between Panasonic and Tesla to build a $5 billion gigafactory to pump out batteries is that Panasonic is the one supplying all the batteries. 

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The Quiet Death of the Oil Sands Index ETF

Nobody noticed it. There were no talking heads on tv. No tweets. No memes. Investors quietly sold their shares into cash, and a notice was put up the website.

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Nobody noticed when the iShares Oil Sands Index ETF quietly died. Expect for me, of course, because I’m The Sustainable Economist. You see, the Oil Sands Index ETF is my benchmark for the energy sector in Canada. It’s what I use to show people how renewable energy is a better investment than the tar sands. And oh my, how ugly that chart looks right now: 

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Does $6.2 Trillion in Green Investments Matter to the Global Economy?

My latest Green Transition Scoreboard research showed more than $6.22 trillion of private investments into the green economy globally since 2007. I talk about it and most people’s eyes glaze over. I lost them at the word trillion… 

Ok, so it’s a heck of a lot of money that is being invested in all different types of green infrastructure. Renewable energy, green buildings, smart grids, energy efficient water infrastructure, and R&D on all sorts of different clean technologies. We take care to consider what should and shouldn’t be included in the tally. Bandaid technologies like ‘clean coal’ and carbon capture & sequestration are obviously omitted, as are most biofuels because they are a tradeoff between food & fuel (only biofuel from algae is included). We have pretty strict standards, as dictated by the remarkable Hazel Henderson who serves as our moral compass and futurist.

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The Booming Green Economy Hits $6.22 Trillion

When we released the first Green Transition Scoreboard in 2010, we were thrilled to have reached $1 trillion. The goal of $10 trillion in private investments by 2020 seemed audacious. Governments were still dealing with the great recession, companies were hoarding cash, and environmentalists’ hearts had just been broken after a failed meeting in Copenhagen.

My, how times have changed.

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The Role of Business in Sustainability

This morning I gave a talk for the Niagara Sustainability Initiative on The Role of Business in Sustainability. It was great timing, since Ontario formally announced yesterday that it is implementing a cap and trade system to put a price on carbon. The audience was excited to learn more about the policy, and how it will impact their bottom line.

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Ideas for Ontario's Climate Change Strategy

After releasing a discussion paper on climate change, the Ontario government has opened it up to public consultation. Here is my open letter to Glen Murray, Minister of Environment & Climate Change:

Dear Minister Murray, 

Thank you for opening this topic up for discussion. I am excited that Ontario is taking a leadership role on climate change, and I applaud you and your staff for the work that you are doing.

Great job on the mission statements. It’s very clear what we are trying to accomplish:

  1. Establish Ontario as a leader in climate change mitigation and science
  2. Redesign and build strong carbon neutral economy, communities, infrastructure and energy
  3. Leave a legacy of a healthy world for our children and future generations
  4. Protect ecosystems, including air, land and water  

Since you’ve opened up the floor, here are my ideas:

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Don't let your money do things you wouldn't