In 2014, award-winning British film producer David Puttnam held a talk on climate change at a TEDx event in Dublin, Ireland. As he rightfully puts it, Climate change is a slow burn issue. We human beings are extremely good at responding to immediate signs of trouble – a baby crying, the Christmas tree on fire – but when it comes to things that happen slowly and in the background we turn out to be … passive.
And that is exactly the case with climate change. Most people struggle to see how they can make a difference.
But – as I think most of us are aware – if we all think like that there is no hope: By year 2100, the planet will be 4 degrees celsius hotter. In which case it will not only be extremely unpleasant, researchers are describing a 4 degree hotter planet as incompatible with human life.
So what can you do about it? What can each of us do to avoid this? I will argue that there are four different buttons you can push in order to battle climate change as an individual. These are:
1. Make your vote count. You can execute your democratic right and vote for those with the most ambitious climate plans.
2. Lower your own emissions. You can make sure that you live as responsibly as you possible can. You can turn off the light, buy ecological food, switch to electric cars, recycle your stuff etc.
3. Get up, stand up. You can become an activist and use your own time to talk about climate change as well as organise people to make a difference. Also, you can try to find innovative solutions to help solve the problem.
4. Invest your money right. Finally, you can make sure your pension savings are invested in responsible investment funds to lower the emissions of your money as well as only supporting responsible companies.
Which ‘button’ is most effective? Ideally, we should all be pushing all four buttons. But let’s be realistic, we cannot all do number 3. And number 1 and 2 will also be influenced by a number of other concerns, e.g. political views, personal finance, taste in cars etc. So, what’s left is number 4, “Invest your money right”.
Use money to battle climate change
Based on my role in Nordea, it’s not a surprise that I would think so. But let me clarify why I think so, and why you should think so too.
In short, these are the main reasons why you should use your money to battle climate change. First of all, we emit almost as much via our savings as we do via our everyday living. Secondly, by moving our savings to responsible investments we can punish those corporations who “disregard human suffering in the pursuit of profit,” as David Puttnam describes it in the Ted Talk mentioned before. Thirdly, the responsible investment funds perform as good if not better than traditional funds. And finally, it’s the single most effective thing you can do as an individual: It works a million yet requires very little of your time.
In short, moving your pension savings to responsible investment funds is to passively utilise your passive capital to, well, save the planet.
The question left to be settled now is: How do you plan to battle climate change?