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How sustainable investing benefits the planet
Alternative energy can power the planet—and your wallet
If we’re going to continue to power the planet, we need to get serious about alternative energy sources. Whether it’s installing solar energy panels in single-family homes or building wind turbine farms to generate clean energy, the companies that are leading the way are likely to benefit from investment. Especially if we want renewable energy to be affordable enough that it automatically becomes the best option.
That’s where sustainable investing comes in. Sustainable investing supports not only renewable energy, but also new jobs—which in turn can create the kind of economic growth that drives prices down and moves markets upwards.
How can you get started with sustainable investing—and how can you choose the kinds of investment opportunities that are likely to benefit alternative energy? To answer these questions, we reached out to sustainability expert Josh Prigge.
Prigge is the the founder and CEO of Sustridge, a sustainability consulting firm. He works with organizations of all sizes — from major corporations to small, private graduate schools — to make the kind of lasting changes that can lead towards long-term sustainability. With twelve years of experience in sustainable management, Prigge understands how to help organizations make practical, actionable choices that are good for both the environment and the bottom line.
In this article:
How do you define sustainable investing?
“Sustainable investing is a forward-thinking approach that incorporates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions,” Prigge explained. “Its goal is to generate long-term financial returns along with creating positive societal and environmental impacts.”
Like all investments, sustainable investing comes with a certain amount of risk—which means that before you purchase any stocks or index funds, you should ask yourself whether you can afford to lose a part of your investment or hold your investments through a long-term bear market. That said, many companies that make good sustainable investments are also actively working towards reducing risk for their investors.
“Sustainable investing works towards identifying companies that actively promote sustainability and responsible business practices,” says Prigge, “often leading to better long-term performance and risk management.”
How does sustainable investing differ from ESG investing?
“While sustainable investing and ESG investing are often used interchangeably, they differ in their primary focus,” Prigge told us. “ESG investing serves as an essential foundation for assessing companies based on their environmental, social, and governance performance. Sustainable investing takes a broader and more proactive approach.”
If you are interested in supporting racial justice or equitable leadership opportunities, for example, ESG investing is likely to connect you to companies that have met certain metrics that indicate progress in these key values. Many of these companies have also been selected because of their high environmental standards and may be actively working towards sustainability goals.
Sustainable investing, on the other hand, focuses entirely on long-term environmental factors. “Sustainable investing goes beyond ESG investing,” says Prigge, “by actively seeking out companies with innovative solutions to global challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity, and social inequality.”
How do you define alternative energy sources?
“Alternative energy sources are the ones that differ from traditional fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas,” Prigge explained. “They are renewable, cleaner and have lower environmental impacts, contributing to a more sustainable future.”
Not only do alternative energy sources benefit the planet, but the development of these alternative sources also benefit the economy—especially for people who are looking for jobs in green energy fields. “Among the most common alternative energy sources are solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal power,” says Prigge. “These alternative energy sources reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance energy security and promote economic development through job creation.”
What are some of the most common alternative energy sources, and what are their advantages?
“Solar power is becoming increasingly cost-competitive due to advances in solar cell technology and economies of scale,” Prigge told us. “Moreover, wind energy has become one of the fastest-growing renewable energy sources, with modern wind turbines capable of generating electricity even at low wind speeds.”
The advantages of alternative energy sources go far beyond cost-competition, of course—and the savvy investor will understand that their contribution can deliver benefits far beyond the annual return. “By embracing alternative energy sources, we can diversify our energy mix, reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and pave the way for a more sustainable and resilient future.”
How does sustainable investing directly benefit alternative energy sources?
“Sustainable investing plays a crucial role in supporting alternative energy sources,” says Prigge. “As an established energy consultant and owner of a sustainability consulting firm, I can confirm that investing in companies focused on renewable energy solutions helps drive innovation and fund new projects.”
These innovative projects help to produce both energy and economic growth—which could prove to benefit both the environment and the investor long-term. “These investments not only have the potential for strong financial returns,” Prigge explains, ”but also contribute to a more sustainable future.”
How does sustainable investing indirectly benefit alternative energy sources?
“Sustainable investing both directly and indirectly supports the development and adoption of alternative energy sources,” says Prigge, “because you are supporting companies and initiatives that help to create a more environmentally responsible and sustainable ecosystem.
By investing in a company that promotes permaculture, for example, you are casting a vote towards companies that work towards renewability—which also benefits renewable energy. “Permaculture encourages sustainable land usage and resource management,” Prigge explains, “which in turn fosters an environment conducive to the growth of renewable energy projects.”
This is one reason to consider sustainable investing index funds, which allow you to spread your investment dollars across a variety of high-achieving companies working towards long-term environmental progress.
“Sustainable investing index funds are an excellent option for those looking to indirectly support alternative energy,” Prigge told us. “These funds invest in a diversified portfolio of companies committed to ESG criteria, including those involved in renewable energy. By choosing sustainable investing index funds, investors can contribute to the broader sustainability movement while potentially benefiting from the long-term growth of responsible companies.”
About Nicole Dieker
Nicole Dieker has been a full-time freelance writer since 2012, with a focus on personal finance and habit formation. In addition to Haven Life, her work regularly appears at Lifehacker, Bankrate, CreditCards.com, and Vox. Dieker spent five years as a writer and editor for The Billfold, a personal finance blog where people had honest conversations about money, and is the author of Frugal and the Beast: And Other Financial Fairy Tales.Read more by Nicole Dieker
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.
Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.
Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.
MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.
Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus
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