Wish it was easier being green? Combat Carbon invests in companies that care about the planet.
Many people who worry about the environment try to reduce their “carbon footprint,” or the total amount of greenhouse gas — carbon dioxide and methane are two — that’s produced through daily activities like cooling or heating your home, or simply disposing of waste, or driving your car.
It’s not just people that have carbon footprints. Companies have carbon footprints too. That’s why your investments in these companies matter.
In fact, many of the biggest businesses around are working to reduce their carbon output, so they can be more sustainable, and attract investors who care about companies that take the environment seriously. About half of the Fortune 500 have announced plans to reduce the amount of carbon they put into the atmosphere.
The Combat Carbon fund invests in many of these companies, and it may help you meet your green investment goals. The businesses in the fund are actively trying to reduce the greenhouse gases they emit, for example by buying carbon offsets, purchasing electricity produced by wind and solar, or by investing in manufacturing materials that are more sustainable.
Why is it important to combat carbon?
Over the next century, human pollutants, primarily in the form of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, will cause global temperatures to increase between 5 and 10 degrees, according to NASA scientists. That could cause ice caps in Antarctica to melt and ocean levels to rise, not to mention interruptions in weather patterns that could cause increases in rainfall and flooding in some areas, and higher temperatures and drought in others, in addition to other interruptions to weather patterns, according to the National Climate Assessment.
Businesses are often some of the biggest carbon emitters around, and some of the most forward-thinking of them are taking their impact on the environment seriously, by minimizing their carbon footprints.
What’s in the Combat Carbon fund?
Combat Carbon invests in more than 1,100 companies that have stated goals of lowering their carbon output. Based on Blackrock’s iShares MSCI ACWI, it aims to match an index that invests in a broad set of large and mid-cap companies globally. It gives preference to the stocks of companies with low carbon emissions relative to their annual sales.
Investors will already be familiar with many of the names in the portfolio, as they are also some of the best-known companies in the world, including Apple, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, and Nestle. But there are some less-expected names, such as Korean car manufacturer Hyundai, Germany’s Siemens conglomerate, and Japanese consumer electronics and Internet services provider Rakuten.
So how are these companies cutting down on carbon? In lots of different ways.
Apple, for example, emits 30 million metric tons of carbon, primarily from manufacturing and the use of its products, the company reports. It’s working to reduce its footprint by sourcing lower carbon products in its manufacturing process like aluminum, and using renewable energy for 96% of its headquarters electricity usage.
Similarly, Microsoft, which estimates that data centers will soon be the largest users of electricity on the planet, derives 44% of its electricity from renewable sources including wind, hydroelectric, and solar. It has also set up its own carbon accounting system internally — for example, booking flights for business on an airline must be accounted for by both the ticket price and the price of purchasing a carbon offset.
What are the risks?
Interest in sustainable investing has grown substantially over the years, with $7 trillion invested in such funds in 2016, about double the amount compared to 2012, according to research. Companies that pay attention to sustainability may in fact be less risky than counterparts that do not, some financial experts say, because they could have fewer new regulatory risks.
Such investments are part of something called Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) and Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), which together incorporates all aspects of sustainability, good corporate governance, workplace diversity, and other important standards into their practices.
Increasing numbers of investors are concerned about the environmental impact of the companies they invest in. Combat Carbon invests in companies that are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint, while giving investors exposure to a broad base of stocks from around the globe.