In the NatureBacked podcast we talked with two green investment platforms in the last two weeks: U.S.-based Raise Green is focused on equity crowdfunding, while Estonia’s Grünfin is more like a green activist fund manager.
Alejandro Jimenez, CFA, head of investments at Grünfin, gave a fascinating insight into money managers’ work and how investors of the 21st century push global corporations like Unilever and Nestle towards greener and healthier choices by forming coalitions for a stronger voice at the shareholders’ meeting or in the media.
“Part of our goal is to make you feel you have the power; this is democratized. You have accessibility, and your money is doing something good and helping make this change. So more of these coalitions are indeed popping up,” Jimenez said.
“In the New World, activism needs to think about a lot more broadly than just shareholders and think about consumers, employees, the supply chain, what governments are saying, and all that kind of stuff,” he said.
U.S.-based green investment platform Raise Green is looking to drive more capital into climate solutions, boosting entrepreneurship in the sector, said founder and CEO Franz Hochstrasser.
“We take a grassroots approach to climate action — we want more people involved in investing and innovating in this space,” Hochstrasser said.
Millennials’ interest in sustainable investment has continued to increase in the United States despite COVID and reached 99% in a recent Morgan Stanley survey.
“They want real, sustainable investment options that aren’t some greenwash version of the same public equities that their parents had traded. That makes me hopeful: there’s capital going into the hands of younger generations that want to put that capital to work to create an inclusive and accelerated clean energy transition,” Hochstrasser said.
“There are more than 10,000 cities and towns across the U.S., and every one of them needs 10 or 20, or 100 distributed energy resources installed between now and the next seven years to get to 100% clean energy by 2035,” he said.
Hochstrasser and Jimenez had quite a similar stance on ESG, which is not that surprising as they are from similar backgrounds — seeing it as a great tool for investors’ decision-making.
“It’s wild to me to look at some of the most recent pushback on the inclusion of ESG data and information and the disclosure of that information from some folks who don’t, for whatever reason, want to think about true societal issues. This is actually providing investors with greater clarity and access to decision-making tools,” said Hochstrasser.
Jimenez said the concept of ESG was so wide it covers everything but admitted he reads ESG reports for the data.
“I was reading Apple’s sustainability report because Apple is the biggest company in the world, so what they do is important. Whether it’s good or bad, they have a huge impact,” Jimenez said, citing the report saying that 22% of Apple’s greenhouse gas emissions come from consumers charging their devices.
"It’s not the consumers’ fault; we got to charge the devices. But the battery still needs to be stronger or long-lasting enough that it requires so much electricity usage. And given that the majority of the electricity in the world still comes from fossil fuels, you get those emissions.”
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We are wrapping Season Two in February and then we focus on a cross-over of the environment and web3 world as we ramp up for Tallinn web3 week in early May.
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