Fossil Fuel Divestment & the Future of Investing

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Fossil Fuel Divestment & the Future of Investing
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Businesses and corporations make their decisions based on the market trends that the public creates. In an age where ideas from all corners of the Earth spread throughout social media like wildfire, progressive arguments and posts can have a strong impact on the concepts that are supported by the general public. Today, we are seeing this trend in environmental consciousness. As people see the effects of global warming through natural disasters, alternative energy has bumped up higher in society’s priority list, and in turn, the fossil fuel industry is adjusting their business model.

Renewable Energy Sources

Fossil fuels are a finite resource, and studies show that if we do not find an alternative source of energy, we will use up fossil fuels within the next several decades. This has created a market for alternative energy, such as solar, wind, geothermal or any other form of energy that is not derived from fossil fuels. According to SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, “We will absolutely get to the point where we are not dependent on fossil fuel with a combination of wind, solar, hydro [power], and [energy] storage.”

One of the most promising and ever-advancing forms of renewable energy thus far has been solar energy. Solar power is most commonly used through photovoltaic, or PV panels, which are used to power homes and buildings, and although the investment cost is still relatively high, the ROI is almost instantly notable. In order to encourage consumers to adopt this renewable energy, government programs and green companies are funding the initial pricey investment for consumers to start using renewable energy now and pay back the investment with the money they save through their power bill.

Millenials and Investments

According to Arizona State University, “The total U.S. stock market capitalization surpassed $25 trillion in early 2017 – an illustration of how important investments are to the financial strategies of many individuals and corporations in the country.” Market trends are controlled by a business’ ability to appeal to customers, as well as by strategizing methods to make new products accessible to consumers by finding financial support and funding from organizations that understand the importance of the adoption of renewable energy. Hence the importance of appealing to trending ideals by means of marketing through social media and other modern methods, as up and coming investors will want to put their money where it’ll count most — in this case, that being renewable energy.

Any kind of accessible renewable energy is appealing to eco-friendly consumers who are willing to put in the extra effort to be environmentally conscious. Although this thought process is common among progressive groups, it is most often identifiable in eco-conscious millennials and Gen-Xers who are intent on putting their money towards good causes, at times over financially literate decisions.

Due to this consumer trend of caring about ethical production and sustainability that heavily influences the market, corporate social responsibility is growing, with companies using their efforts at more ethical business models as a main marketing point. The impact of fossil fuels on the environment has shifted public interest towards renewable energy, which is changing the future market and investments of the fossil fuel industry. Although we are in the midst of what will no doubt be a drawn out transitionary period, we can hopefully stop and reverse the level of damage we’ve had on our planet and climate.

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Avery Phillips

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