Over the last few days I have been watching with great interest the events unfolding at the UN climate summit and in particular the impassioned talks that the courageous Greta Thunberg has given not just in the last few weeks but over the course of the last year. All of these events have left me pondering the question about whether or not it is the responsibility of government or even companies to start green initiatives and protect the environment. I have considered this question a lot over the last few years especially as my group has embarked on our recent chapter in creating Endeavour Wealth Management, and my conclusion is that the greatest responsibility falls on us as individual citizens.
To be clear, my stance on this issue is not that governments and companies don’t have a responsibility but as we all know and are aware, governments do not move in a direction unless voters push them that way and companies for the most part are in pursuit of profit, therefore, as individuals you must make the decision for these organizations. In the business world we are already seeing the impacts of this movement as many companies are developing green initiatives to make themselves more attractive to their customers and clientele. As an example, just recently Amazon announced that they are committing to have 50% of their shipments to be carbon neutral by 2030 and fully carbon neutral by 2050. This is a policy that is created based on the demand of their consumers. Other companies around the world are also making green initiatives a priority as are governments and it is based on the demand of their customers and their voter base.
Now there are exceptions to this rule, and Endeavour Wealth Management would fall into this category where having a green initiative is part of our culture based on who we are. For example, with Endeavour HQ’s renovation we wanted to use as much repurposed materials as we could find. In the search for our location we were astonished to find out just how much waste occurs when companies move out of their office spaces. These offices are literally torn down to the studs afterward with valuable materials being thrown away. When we learned of this, we made it a priority to salvage as much material as we could to build out our new space. Not only was this great in reducing waste but it also saved us about $40,000 in materials that would have been bought new. I am very proud of the fact that we are building out a modern office that exemplifies our focus on client experience while also being responsible to the environment and we will continue to look at more areas where we can have an impact. There are other companies who make this a priority as well, The Virgin Group of companies comes to mind right away especially with their airlines where they have made it a priority to develop cleaner jet fuel, more efficient air craft and are constantly looking at new green initiatives. These types companies exist but I think it would be naïve to expect that all companies will operate this way if the decision is left up to them. Ultimately this is why the responsibility falls on you as an individual.
In my opinion the biggest thing you can do is speak with your consumer dollars. If you believe that electric cars are the wave of the future and the world must move in this direction, it doesn’t mean you need to spend $180,000 on a new Tesla. But look into other car companies that may have been around for a long time and are now catching on to the green energy wave. Show them with your dollars that they are heading in the right direction and that they will be profitable on this path. Also, I would caution you about having the expectation that we can switch to a green economy overnight. The world is still heavily reliant on oil and gas energy and will be for some time mainly because it will cost billions if not trillions to build the infrastructure and technology to replace it with greener solutions not to mention the increasing demand for energy especially in Asia. The movement will take time, so I think it is important to set your expectations appropriately but don’t let this discourage you either. Support the companies you believe in and let your dollars speak for your values. That’s exactly what we are doing at Endeavour Wealth Management.
-Grant White, CIM, CFP®
Grant White is an award-winning Portfolio Manager/Investment Advisor at Endeavour Wealth Management with Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. Together with his partners he provides comprehensive wealth management planning for business owners, professionals and individual families.
This information has been prepared by Grant White who is a Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (iA Securities) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of iA Securities. The information contained in this newsletter comes from sources we believe reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or reliability. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. The information contained herein may not apply to all types of investors. The Portfolio Manager can open accounts only in the provinces in which they are registered.