As institutional investors such as university endowments begin divesting from coal and fossil fuel companies, there is a tremendous opportunity for carbon-free reinvesting to fund energy efficiency and clean technology and to speed the transition to a clean energy future.
In undertaking carbon-free and clean energy re-investment, many questions emerge: Does divestment from fossil fuel companies decrease or increase portfolio risk? What re-investment options exist for university endowments, institutional investors, foundations, and for individuals?
As You Sow strives to answer these important questions by working with key allies in the investment industry. Our research and resources provide:
- Analysis demonstrating the low risk impact of divesting from carbon (see the Do the Investment Math section below)
- Background information for students on socially responsible investing (SRI) and basic finance concepts (see Reinvestment Handbook section below);
- Reinvestment opportunities that support a sustainable, clean energy future.
Green Bonds in Brief: Risk, Reward, and Opportunity
Forty billion dollars in 2014. One hundred billion in 2015. That’s how much funding Green Bonds are projected to provide in the next year and a half. Green Bonds offer an opportunity for both investors and issuers to encourage sustainable growth through green projects such as energy efficiency, renewable power, and cleaner transit.
Green Bonds in Brief: Risk, Reward, and Opportunity, authored by As You Sow and graduate students at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, is available for download now.
Cleantech Redefined: Why the Next Wave of Cleantech Infrastructure, Technology and Services Will Thrive in the 21st Century, describes and examines the latest investment opportunities and trends across clean energy, efficiency, water, transportation, agriculture, energy storage, air & environment, and clean industry. The report takes a macro look at the adoption of clean and green products, services, and related infrastructure worldwide. It finds that after a decade of cautious experimentation by early adopters, cleantech-themed products and services are now bridging the gulf to wide mainstream adoption. Further, it details how new corporate venturing and strategic investment into cleantech by some of the largest multinational companies in the world is augmenting the role traditionally played by venture capital.
Go Green Radio: The Movement to Divest From Fossil Fuels
On Mar. 7, 2014, As You Sow CEO Andrew Behar was on Go Green Radio talking fossil-fuel divestment and carbon-free reinvestment with host Jill Green. Brett Fleishman of 350, Victoria Fernandez of Fossil Free Cal, and Brian Schmidt of Santa Clara Valley Water District also joined the conversation.
17 foundations with assets of about $2 billion have recently agreed to divest their portfolios of coal, oil and gas, and reinvest in the clean energy economy. This adds a major tailwind to the movement that is up and running on 400 college campuses nationwide. Major institutions in San Francisco, including the city itself, have agreed to divest completely. Some of these big names include The Compton Foundation, The Sierra Club Foundation, The San Francisco State University Foundation and more.
Listen to the segment below, or visit Go Green Radio to download the mp3.
As You Sow and financial advisors, the Aperio Group, collaborated to promote a financial risk assessment of carbon divestment in the paper Do the Investment Math: Building a Carbon-Free Portfolio.
A webinar was held in early 2013 highlighting the growing carbon divestment movement and exploring the low-risk impact of divesting from a range of carbon-intensive companies, from the Filthy 15 coal utilities and mining companies, to the Carbon Tracker 200, a group of the 200 companies holding the most fossil fuel reserves, to all fossil fuel based energy companies. The panel was moderated by Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, and featured report author Patrick Geddes, CIO of Aperio Group and Dan Apfel, Executive Director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition.
The Reinvestment Handbook is a resource for the next generation of responsible investors. It is designed to help students better understand their university endowment, the key pillars of SRI funds including screening for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, performance of ESG investments, funds, and portfolios, and basic finance concepts.
A second edition, expanded to include all fossil fuels and additional finance resources, is being developed.