I love clients who push me towards new ideas in sustainable investment. Currently, I’m working with a lovely couple in Toronto who hold the honour of being my ‘deepest’ green clients so far. They are adamant that not a single dollar be invested in fossil fuels, and won’t tolerate any banks who themselves hold investments in coal, oil, and natural gas. I can’t, in good conscience, let them lose out on the strong financial returns and diversification benefits that come with exposure to the financial sector. So I got creative within these constraints, and here’s what I’ve come up with:
The solar industry has been getting lots of positive news lately. An election in India has brought in a new government with the ambitious vision of deploying enough solar energy to ensure at least one lightbulb in every home by 2019. At the same time, the Chinese government is taking a hard turn towards renewables as air pollution chokes their cities and population. The new plan will triple their solar capacity to 70 gigawatts by 2017.
As the clock ticked midnight and we entered 2014, I decided it was a good time to review the financial performance of my model portfolios. I’m happy to report that 2013 was a great year for sustainable investment strategies, with each of my model portfolios doing about as well or better than its traditional benchmark. The following table presents annual Net Asset Value (NAV) returns from Morningstar on Jan. 6, 2014:
A couple of weeks ago, I gave a quick talk at the Ontario Nonprofit Network's annual conference in Toronto. It was a packed house with about 350 people in the audience (including Premier Kathleen Wynne). My task was to showcase the importance of the nonprofit sector to Ontario's economy, and to explain how organizations who maximize revenue can maximize their impact.
It wasn’t that long ago that the green economy was seen as an outlier. Traditionalists were banking on the rebuild of established sectors like automotive and finance. The green economy was readily dismissed as tiny and although it might one day be important, that day was far off in the future. Well, the future is here my friends. Since 2009, I’ve been tracking the growth of the global green economy through the Green Transition Scoreboard®. Every six months, I hunt for the best research to quantify private investments in the following sectors - Renewable Energy, Efficiency, Green Construction, Green Research & Development, and Cleantech. Back in 2009, research was scarce and I had to scrounge for numbers. Now, I’m finding robust numbers from some of the most respectable market research firms. My initial finding of $1.4 trillion has blossomed into a massive $5.2 trillion. Read the latest press release here.
My east coast tour wrapped up today with a great presentation at the Fredericton Convention Centre. A giant thank you to the Co-operative Enterprise Council of New Brunswick, the Pond-Deshpande Centre, the Economic and Social Inclusion Network, and OMISTA Credit Union.
It was a well-received presentation, followed by a great World Cafe dialogue facilitated by the lovely Amanda Haché. Here are the presentation slides:
I'm getting ready to present to a packed house at The Hub Halifax. The topic is Social Finance 101, and we've got lots of social entrepreneurs in the house ready to learn how they can finance their organizations. I've taken the presentation I gave last week in Moncton, and added some local content.