The Urgent Case For Change: The Civic Duty of Impact Investing In The Face Of Climate Devastation

The Urgent Case For Change: The Civic Duty of Impact Investing In The Face Of Climate Devastation

The world is at a critical juncture, as Robert Frost eloquently wrote about “two roads diverging in a yellow wood.” Sadly, we cannot travel both. While cutting 41 million trees per day there is little forest left to tread, and the only thing yellow is our pollution filled skies.

This global crisis has been characterized by staggering and shocking facts that bring home the stark reality of its devastation: World temperatures are the warmest in 125,000 years. At this rate, 200 million refugees will seek asylum from natural disasters by mid-century, and one million plant and animal species are marching toward extinction (we are on this list; we just don’t see that yet). We ask ourselves: What can I do? I am just one person.

That should not be the attitude we have when we go to the ballot boxes on election day. Every action counts. We cannot sit idle, having a business-as-usual approach in the face of such alarming truths.

The implications of such widespread loss within our ecosystems are profound and demand our unwavering attention. However frightening our current reality, the paradigm is changing, as is the opinion on our ability to adapt and to mitigate climate change.

Each country, corporation and large NGO needs to lead the charge since their impact resonates the loudest. But the key question is, how can the individual do more, and how much is enough to make a real impact? To study the individual’s contribution, we first need to analyze the changes occurring at our places of work.

We are seeing a departure on Wall Street from the traditional profit-above-all and scorch the earth in the process mentality. If anything, there are “green premiums” now from investors seeking companies with sustainability and carbon reduction goals (see Tesla). The emergence of this impact investing is critical in combating climate change since this injection of capital promotes innovation and unlocks new investment opportunities.

At a 30,000-foot perspective, investors now face two types of risks: physical and transition risks. The physical risk of climate change is more apparent, such as destruction of assets due to natural disasters.

Transition risk includes policy and market-based (consumer) reactions or trends which can be positive or negative. The EV trend is here to stay, but can we really cut out oil and gas from our lives? Afterall, electricity cannot generate the heat required for certain manufacturing. Also, no lithium battery, no matter what size, can practically power a transatlantic flight.

The short answer is, how long is this energy transition timeline? The Bell Companies invented solar in the 1950s, but had an investment been made then, the returns may not have made sense. However, solar and renewable energy is so hot (pun intended) right now, timing is everything. In fact, we are renting as many commercial roofs as possible that will have us simply to install solar on that unobstructed real estate.

With a call to action now, impact investors are taking a proactive stance that transcends mere profits with a broader goal of mitigating climate change. The transformative potential of impact investing lies in its capacity to foster innovation and sustainable practices, which has accelerated a much-needed shift in our corporate landscape.

However, the onus of responsibility does not rest solely on the shoulders of impact investors, countries or corporations. As individuals driven by self-preservation and strategic foresight, we must acknowledge our inherent civic duty to be proactive stewards of change.

Each of us can practice lifestyle adjustments through our daily choices, behaviors and advocacy. Those reading this article have certainly been presented at Amazon checkout the option of receiving less packaging on multiple orders; the sacrifice is waiting a few extra days. Emotionally, if we can allow ourselves to be patient, we can do our part.

Approximately 15 percent of Amazon deliveries now arrive without additional packaging, known as “ships in own container,” another choice at checkout. Let us eliminate waste and paper packaging; these are easy sustainable practices. Our collective commitment to environmental adjustments can manifest in several ways, from embracing energy-efficient practices in our homes and communities to championing renewable energy adoption, like 100 percent electrification of our grid.

On the purchasing side, exercising conscientious brand loyalty and supporting businesses that prioritize sustainability can inch the world closer to carbon neutrality. The inertia of complacency is at its end, and the Infrastructure Revolution has finally arrived. We must yield to a bold and sustained commitment to redefining our relationship with the environment and the global economy keen on climate mitigation.

As individuals, we need an unwavering resolve to embrace innovative solutions, advocate for systemic change, and uphold the principles of sustainability. One way to do this is through democratization of energy services. We no longer need to purchase energy from regulated monopolies where we are left with no choice. But, by providing a choice to consumers, we can give them the freedom to make the right decision when seeking energy, one that contributes to carbon reduction, i.e., solar energy.

The potency of impact investing and the significance of individual civic sustainable duties emerge as pillars in our collective endeavor to confront climate change. The stark reality of climate devastation demands nothing short of our resolute commitment to affecting positive change.

Let us seize this moment for transformation, transcending the boundaries of convention to forge a sustainable and equitable future for generations to come. Let us not forget, there is an urgent need for change and, in the face of increasing climate devastation, we all have a civic duty to do impact investing.

Headline photo courtesy of Instant Images

Author Profile
Joshua Schuster
Chairman & CEO - 

Joshua Schuster is chairman/CEO of SOLARBACK LLC, a Florida-born initiative backed by private equity that will lease empty roof space and generate passive income for commercial property owners. Schuster leads SOLARBACK’s overall direction, guiding ESG investors and focusing on new markets and project development. Previously, Schuster incorporated climate conscious design into more than $2.3 billion in real estate projects across several states over 20 years, representing 3.2 million square feet.

Schuster continues to incorporate his previous experiences and knowledge into SOLARBACK for a brighter, cleaner future and is on the NSBA Leadership Council in Florida. His advisory board consists of influential individuals, such as former Senator Ron Silver, Captain John Lloyd and James Salter.

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