Based on the significant legislation recently passed by Congress that focuses on climate action. “What’s in the bill?”, “What does it allow us to do?” and “What still needs to be done?”

We reached out to leading experts in the ESG investing industry to find out their responses, and this is what we found…

QUESTION”What’s in the bill?”, “What does allow us to do?” and “What still needs to be done?”

ANSWERBolor-Erdene Tumurchudur – Ubik Group Director of Partnerships

ANSWERAs an investor, it is important to understand energy and infrastructure-related investments are long-term investments. Thus, the bill could be higher in the short-term, but over time it will pay back. It will allow the investors to contribute to the decarbonization effort directly, and the health of the population indirectly. This also helps investors to choose research and development of renewable energy, battery storage, water management efficiency (all types of energy (including nuclear energy) and are water inseparable) and related long-term projects.

ANSWERWe also need to collaborate with city mayors, lawmakers, and other organizations to create a clear systematic structure to decrease HFC and GHG emissions. Moreover, investors need to pay attention to left off industries like nuclear Energy and their safety, specifically nuclear waste, etc. On top of that, it’s significant to push energy efficiency-focused policies and projects.

QUESTION”What’s in the bill?”, “What does allow us to do?” and “What still needs to be done?”

ANSWERNimet Vural, Freelance Sustainability, Accountability and Corporate Governance

ANSWERThe Bill is aggressively fighting both the Pandemic and Climate Change. The Investment Industry seeks returns as its primary objective and today some of the most convincing opportunities for growth and returns come from a transition to a more sustainable economic model that both harnesses and preserves nature. We need to see Innovation and creativity among the Investors looking to address Social Inequalities on a more Systemic basis.

QUESTION”What’s in the bill?”, “What does allow us to do?” and “What still needs to be done?”

ANSWERPaul Ellis, Founder of Paul Ellis Consulting & The Sustainable Finance Podcast

ANSWERCombining the economic cost of physical climate risks from floods, fires and storms, with the economic impact of transition climate risk like the COVID-19 pandemic, has brought the U.S. Congress together in a rare bipartisan moment related to energy policy. I expect to see more of the same as both physical and transition climate risks continue to multiply in the next two decades. And investors will play an increasingly important role in this process by voting with their retirement assets, investing in companies that produce and use clean and renewable energy products and services.

QUESTION”What’s in the bill?”, “What does allow us to do?” and “What still needs to be done?”

ANSWERLebo Mahlare, Renewable Energy Finance

ANSWERThis is a significant development in the fight against climate change but we still have much more to do given that models still require less than a 2 deg C rise in global temperatures, especially in specific regions of the world.

Legislation bill passed by Congress – What is the Bill? What does it allow us to do? What still needs to be done?

…When day comes, we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

– Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate
Excerpt from “The Hill We Climb” (read at the 2021 Biden inauguration)

In this issue #9 of the Socially Inspired Investor Digest and companion Podcast, we look at how – in an unlikely bi-partisan way – Congress steps up to make an unequivocal stance supporting the fight against climate change, and significantly puts up billions to also make it a meaningful action for jobs and economic recovery. Funding for renewable energy and credits to consumers could make this legislation a critical turning point.

But wait, there could be more!  In addition to re-joining the Paris Accord, President Biden is proposing more clean energy enhancements in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal.  We shall see what the final bill will include but we believe many of the provisions around environmental sustainability haves a decent chance of surviving.

In our SPOTLIGHT ON section, we asked our team of industry experts to weigh in on the key take-aways from the legislation – How it helps and what is still needed.  The tie-in to job creation seems to be a critical component in building support.

But here is the point for investors.  Criteria historically used to evaluate investment options are changing. Desmond Wheatley who is featured in this month’s Podcast points out that an additional factor to consider is companies meet the “inevitability” of change.  That sounds right as we seem to be in the golden age of companies of all types publicly announcing their commitments to achieving net zero carbon.

Many companies will need to adapt or unfortunately see their relative value diminish if they cannot keep up. Portfolios should be evaluated not only on previous results but also where in the changing landscape find these companies in 10, 20, 40 years. 

The environmental provisions in the December, $900 billion stimulus bill includes $35 billion funding for renewable technology and energy efficiency.

  • $4 billion for solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal research and development.
  • $1.7 billion to help low-income families install renewable energy sources in their homes.
  • $2.6 billion for the Energy Department’s sustainable transportation program.
  • and $500 million for research on reducing industrial emissions.

It also authorizes $2.9 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a program that funds high-risk, high-reward research.1

Welcome to 2021.  Time to freshen up those portfolios.