According to the 2018 Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, investments in clean energy totaled over $332 billion. Though that sounds like a lot of money, when put into context, it’s a number down 8% from the investments made in the sector just one year earlier.
But despite this downtrend, investors are seeing that the rapidly-changing landscape of environmental policy necessitates a second look at greentech’s trajectory. Recently, there has been a mass exodus away from fossil fuels, as more and more companies realize the toll their business is taking on the planet.
As younger generations demand the planet and its finite resources get more consistent consideration from the government, the private sector has seen that there is money to be made in ensuring modern-day conveniences, like cars and current large-scale manufacturing processes, are as eco-friendly as possible. And with that progress, many venture capitalists and public figures are taking notice.
Financiers are on board
For instance, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos, among others, have recently launched their own company, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, one which hopes to “make sure that everyone on the planet can enjoy a good standard of living, including basic electricity, healthy food, comfortable buildings, and convenient transportation, without contributing to climate change,” according to the company’s website.
Though billions have made this move recently, funding resources haven’t just started pouring in recently. According to a United Nations report, investors across the globe have put in over $2.6 trillion dollars towards biofuels and renewable energy since 2004; further, Cambridge Associates notes that around 8 billion in capital has been invested into renewable power source development alone.
And it’s not just legacy investors getting involved either; new funds are starting to prop up as well. For instance, not too long ago, former Vice-President Al Gore’s fund, Generation Investment Management LLP, announced it would deploy capital to fund companies serving sustainability goals.
Major public companies and governments join the movement
But even beyond investments in private markets, publicly-traded companies are also becoming increasingly involved. Specifically, the average return for 2018 for the S&P Global Clean Energy Index was a little over 13 percent. But beyond just the returns, many major companies including Apple, Intel, Kohl’s, and Walmart all run at least partially on green energy.