December 10, 2018
Barron’s recently reported on the nearly 2,000-page climate-change report released by federal agencies just over a week ago—and we’re proud to see our own president Christine Harada featured in the piece!
As former Chief Sustainability Officer for the Obama administration, Harada has unique insight into the severity of the threat posed by climate change—to America’s infrastructure, natural resources, and economy, not to mention the planet itself—and the long-awaited report from the federal government only confirms how dire the situation has become.
The congressionally mandated document outlines how the disastrous effects of climate change, such as increasingly debilitating hurricanes, droughts, coastal flooding, and wildfires, are becoming more and more common throughout the United States. The unequivocal message at the core of the report: unless greenhouse-gas emissions are drastically reduced, our future is grim.
Harada had some strong words for naysayers: “There’s a bit of, ‘We’ve been telling you this for the last couple of years—where have you been?’ Not to be snarky, but we are facing a real crisis that needs to be addressed, not just from a policy perspective, but on an individual level.”
Indeed, absent any action from the White House—which has repudiated the climate report despite its being created by entities and scientists overseen by the Trump administration—there is still promise from Wall Street and institutional investors.
For instance, professionally managed assets invested in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) strategies have risen 44 percent in the U.S. since 2016—now amounting to $12 trillion, according to the latest research. An increasing number of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds have an “environmental focus” as well.
With the rise in impact investing, plus the urgent warning posed by the U.S. climate-change report, certainly more Wall Street firms are set to favor environmentally friendly investments.
Furthermore, younger investors are increasingly interested in impact investing. In a recent appearance on Cheddar, Harada noted that millennials are “much more savvy and aware, much more attuned to how we think about the environment and climate and energy.” It’s a promising sign of what the future may hold.
And as quoted in Barron’s, Harada encourages investment professionals to address climate change on a personal level as well, by driving electric cars and turning off lights in their homes and offices, for instance.
Every step helps. Let’s all do our part to help make the world a better place to live—today and for the future.