Human caused climate change and environmental degradation are two of the most pressing issues of our time. The challenges we face to address these issues; ranging from technical, to economic, to regulatory, are considerable.
Greentech was created to be an agent of change. We have the distinct privilege of engaging with leading companies and investors from around the globe on the transition to more sustainable industry and infrastructure systems.
As we stand at the start of a new decade, we are more excited than ever about the change we see happening in our sectors. For corporate citizens and money managers, the days of having one’s head in the sand are done. We are optimistic about the future and the rate of transition is accelerating; here are five developments we are excited about:
1 ESG is Moving Money
In 2019, sustainable funds had inflows of over $13.5 billion, almost triple the level of 2018. Millennials are now the largest segment of the workforce and their spending, working and investment habits are dramatically different from the generation that preceded them. Governments are pitching in too; this year Norway’s $1.1 trillion sovereign fund announced that it would divest from companies solely dedicated to oil and gas exploration and production. Private equity investors are creating dedicated impact funds. ESG audit systems are improving to support growing demand for accountability.
2 Public Awareness is turning into Public Action
The Greta effect is real. In a single week in September, Climate Strikes attracted over six million participants. Sadly, the reasons for this are clear; the last three years have seen the highest levels of weather-related infrastructure damage in history. The human and financial consequences of climate change inaction are no longer over the horizon; citizens are dealing with the impacts now.
3 Europe will Stay the Course
In December 2019, highlighting the stark reality that “science is telling us we are running out of time,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen outlined a sweeping and ambitious plan to overhaul European policy toward addressing the challenges of climate change. In January 2020 the European Green Deal, which touches nearly every aspect of the European economy from agriculture, to transportation, to the built environment and beyond, was approved by the European Parliament for drafting into law and a €1.0 trillion, 10-year investment plan was unveiled. By targeting a net carbon-neutral economy by 2050 and committing to invest the capital needed to get there, Europe is betting its future on the sustainable transition.
4 It’s all about the Ocean
There is growing awareness of the importance the ocean will have on our ability to mitigate the impacts of climate change. In addition to climate change, plastic pollution and overfishing pose serious threats to the sustainability of ocean ecosystems. Governments and industry are waking up to the challenge. At the 2019 Our Ocean conference in Oslo, governments, businesses and research institutions made 370 commitments, worth more than $63 billion, toward improving marine health and productivity. This compares to $10 billion in 2018.
5 A Jolt to European Automotive OEMs
Under current EU regulation, automotive OEMs must achieve an average CO2 target of 95 grams per kilometer, or pay a fine of 95 euros for each gram they are over that limit on every car that they sell. In March 2019, the European Parliament approved a regulation which mandates CO2 emissions from new cars be reduced by a further 37.5 percent by 2030. Facing the prospect of significant fines, OEMs are investing heavily to bring electric models to market. The number of EV models (including battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell) in production across the EU is set to increase from 60 at the end of 2018 to a combined 176 models in 2020, and will surpass 300 models by 2025.