Yes, there's a climate emergency - but we can still celebrate those trying to fix it
Environmental activists have pushed the climate crisis up the political agenda with their demands for more action from political leaders and businesses on tackling climate change. But don't believe it when they tell you that "nothing is being done", writes Sarah Stewart.
We will celebrate wind companies that are making a difference at our European Wind Investment Awards on 31st October.
If a company is in trouble – if it’s being mismanaged or its strategy isn’t working – then an activist investor can take action to effect major change.
By purchasing a large numbers of shares, mobilising other investors and getting elected to the board, they’re able to manoeuvre themselves into a position where they can wield the necessary clout to turn around the fortunes of the company.
But what do you do when it’s not a company that’s in trouble, but the planet?
If you weren’t directly affected by Extinction Rebellion’s protest in April, you will have seen the activities of its protestors on the news. From planting trees to disrupting travel, they were serious about highlighting the impact of climate change and the impending global disaster we are heading for.
And even if you missed that, then you surely can’t have avoided Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has been a frequent presence on news and social media declaiming the lack of activity on climate change: “The basic problem is the same everywhere and is that nothing is being done,” she told UK Parliament last month, before British MPs declared an ‘environmental and climate emergency’.
Now, Thunberg has done some good work to highlight this issue and mobilise people young and old to make their voices heard about the need for climate action.
However, while we see some merit in the argument that governments, businesses and individuals globally aren't doing enough to address the climate emergency, it doesn't tell the whole story. It isn't true to say that nothing is being done. Some are already taking significant action.
Investors aren’t typically presented as heroic. They wouldn’t be the first in line to glue themselves to trains or strip off in parliament, but they are doing their bit to save the planet, albeit in a quieter, desk-bound and, thankfully, clothed way.
Those in the wind industry, especially, have been working incredibly hard to shift the world away from fossil fuels and develop the technologies to replace them. Wind energy has become as cheap as fossil fuels in some parts of the world, and costs are continuing to come down. This isn’t serendipitous. We should celebrate the people who have made this possible.
Investors in clean energy show to others their confidence in the sector, their belief in the long term sustainability of renewable energy, and its future growth. They show that there is hard science behind activists’ claims that a better future is possible.
We see evidence for this in the investment activities of companies including Allianz Capital Partners, BlackRock, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Macquarie. They, and many more, have been active on the institutional investment and fund management side.
Just as important are the work of utilities such as Orsted, Iberdrola, E.On Climate & Renewables, Vattenfall and Equinor, which have been working on large offshore and onshore wind farms. And this all depends on turbine innovations by manufacturers such as Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, GE and many others, who are working hard to make wind farms cheaper and more efficient.
Those who invest in renewable energy sources prove that profit and social good aren’t mutually exclusive. One doesn’t come at the cost of another. That’s the bottom line – or rather, the double bottom line.
And that’s why, despite the global climate emergency, we feel it’s right to celebrate the work being done by companies in this sector at our debut European awards on 31st October. We will draw on our in-depth market knowledge and strong industry contacts to salute those who are out there and are making a difference.
Which leaves one question…
How is your company making a difference? The European Wind Investment Awards on 31st October is a flagship event that will recognise the very best in the European wind industry. We are now open to nominations.