Creating Positive Environmental Impact During COVID-19


Creating Positive Environmental Impact During COVID-19

This is the third in a series of blogs of about being impactful during the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 8, 2020

At Rally we use the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to frame our investment approach by grouping them into five investable themes, which are proving useful when thinking about how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.Today’s note explores two closely connected themes, which together encompass five SDGs:

Addressing Climate Change:
•    Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
•    Goal 13: Climate Action

Sustainable Use of Natural Capital:
•    Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
•    Goal 14: Life below Water
•    Goal 15: Life on Land

What do these themes mean in terms of COVID-19?

This pandemic has reminded us that human health and the health of the environment are intrinsically connected and this devasting health pandemic must also be viewed through an environmental lens. Globally, the risk of mortality from the pandemic is higher for those whose health has been compromised by the effects of climate change.

Climate change has not stopped during the pandemic and will not stop once we emerge. With many companies having temporarily paused their operations and little traffic on the roads, the air for many of us has been cleaner and urban environments quieter and more animal friendly. But such unintentional environmental improvements are temporary. Investments into sustainable companies and practices are absolutely needed to help solve the climate crisis.

How impact investors can make a positive environmental impact during COVID-19

Invest time and energy
The speed at which the global community mobilized around the pandemic gives us hope quick global cooperation and action on the environment is possible.

You may wish to join the many economists, businesses, or academics and policymakers advocating that governments need to ensure recovery plans also result in a sustainable and energy-efficient, low-carbon economy.

You may wish to advocate to ensure bailouts to destructive industries end, or that any bailouts are conditional on positive change like environmental improvements and safe working conditions.

Make charitable donations
Protecting the environment during COVID-19 could mean donating to organizations that help people secure clean water for handwashing – like Water First or Water Aid – or organizations that care for lands and waters – like the Nature Conservancy or Land Needs Guardians.

Invest in companies 
Even prior to the pandemic there were compelling reasons to invest with climate change in mind. The pandemic has reinforced those. Without making any specific company recommendations, we encourage you to invest in companies that are addressing climate change and sustainably using natural capital. That will require considering how a company operates, not just what it produces.

We encourage you to find companies to invest in that will help create a sustainable post-COVID-19 economy, such as companies:

  • In the green building industry, improving the energy efficiency of buildings
  • Finding ways to reduce carbon in the transportation sector, whether through the creation of electric vehicles or the necessary supportive infrastructure
  • Producing renewable and clean energy
  • Using sustainable means to harvest, grow and produce food

As part of a client engagement, we will soon publish a report on the conservation finance landscape in Canada.

Intentional investing today creates the sustainable, resilient tomorrow that you want – and that thinking holds true in this pandemic, whether one is contributing time, charitable dollars or invested capital.

We’d love to hear what you think of our themes and our ideas.

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