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selfie millennials times square new york city
People
take a selfie as the sun sets over Manhattan aligned exactly with
the streets in a phenomenon known as “Manhattanhenge”, in New
York City, U.S., July 11, 2016.

REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

  • Your investment portfolio contributes far more
    greenhouse gases than any other lifestyle choice you
    make.
  • An investment of $500,000 split between two common
    indexes produces 51 tons of carbon dioxide.
  • If you want to help the environment, start by looking
    at your portfolio. 

 

While environmentalists may rightly point their fingers at
carbon-spewing airplanes and SUVs, there’s actually a hidden
source of greenhouse gas emissions that’s much worse than
driving— and it’s lurking in your investments.

That’s according to a new study from CoPower, a Toronto-based firm that
directs investment into clean energy products and green bonds.

The study considers a hypothetical professional couple, Jamie and
Leslie, who take measures to reduce their carbon footprint — the
amount of carbon dioxide produced by their lifestyle — like
eating a mostly vegetarian diet, buying local groceries, and
cutting down on car and air travel. This lifestyle, according to
CoPower, would produce a net carbon footprint of just over 25
tons, before accounting for their investments. 

But say, for example, Jamie and Leslie have a combined portfolio
of $500,000 split equally between two typical funds, the

average emissions of the companies in the indices, the couple’s
investment alone would emit a whopping 51 tons of carbon dioxide
— more than double the amount of their lifestyle. 

And, it’s not just the wealthy making investments that harm
the climate. According to CoPower, an investment of $10,000 in
The Toronto Stock Exchange index has an annual carbon footprint
of over 1700 pounds, which is equivalent to driving 1800 miles or
eating 264 quarter-pound hamburgers. 


Hector Santiago, a horticulturist, waters plants at his nursery that is powered by solar energy, after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in Barranquitas, south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 3, 2017.  REUTERS/Gabriel Stargardters
Hector
Santiago, a horticulturist, waters plants at his nursery that is
powered by solar energy, after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in
Barranquitas, south of San Juan

Thomson Reuters

The numbers only get worse the larger the investment portfolio.
An investment of $1 million split between the two indexes would
produce over 102 tons of carbon. 

CoPower offers a few ways to make investments
greener. Investors can contribute a minimum of $5,000 into
one of CoPower’s two Green Bonds funds, which operate on either a
3 or 5-year time frame and target a 3.5% or 5% interest
rate, respectively.

The company pools these loans into financing for clean
energy and energy efficiency projects across the US and
Canada, like converting condo buildings to more efficient LED
lights, or installing geothermal heating in residential
neighborhoods. 

Other firms like
Wunder Capital
— which is only open to accredited investors —
pool loans to help commercial enterprises like small businesses,
schools, and warehouses convert to solar power. And for a
minimum investment of $500,
Aspiration
will direct your money into companies
that are both solid investments and good for the
planet. 

All units converted from metric to imperial by the
author. 

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