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US coal decline a warning for fossil fuel investors, says Carbon Tracker

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The Carbon Tracker Initiative has said the decline of the thermal coal market in the US should serve as a warming for investors with holdings in fossil fuel companies, explaining it may be a harbinger of things to come for other fossil fuel markets globally.

In a new report – The US Coal Crash – Evidence for structural change – the organisation argues that cheaper renewables, energy efficiency measures, the shale gas revolution and legal challenges have led to the US coal market declining. As a result the Carbon Tracker Initiative states it “paints a bleak picture” and “makes grim reading” for coal investors and those with fossil fuel holdings.

The report comes at a time when policymakers are drawing up climate mitigation plans ahead of UN climate negotiations set to take place in Paris later this year.

Carbon Tracker’s senior researcher, Luke Sussams, who co-authored the report, said, “Cheap gas has knocked coal off its feet, and the need to improve air quality and ever-lower renewables costs has kept coal down for the count.”

The study explains that the slump in coal prices over the last three years have driven at least two dozen coal companies into bankruptcy after many companies betted on an upturn that did not come. Furthermore, many companies have lost 80% of their share value in the same period, including coal giant Peabody Energy Corp.

The fall and risk to investors is highlighted by the Dow Jones Total Market Coal Sector Index falling 76% in the last five years compared to the Dow Jones Industrial Average growing by 69% over the same period, adds the report.

Co-author of the report and Carbon Tracker’s financial analysts, Andrew Grant added, “The roof has fallen in on US coal, and alarm bells should be ringing for investors in related sectors around the world.

“These first tremors are amongst the clearest signs yet of a seismic shift in energy markets, as high carbon fuels are set to be increasingly outperformed by low carbon alternatives.”

Non-profit think tank Ceres suggests that the fate of US coal should serve as a warning to investors in other fossil fuel markets worldwide, stating those who fail to shift away from the polluting energy sources are increasingly at risk of assets becoming stranded.

Andrew Logan, director of the oil and gas program at Ceres, said, “We’ve know for decades that coal posed serious health and environmental risks, but now coal has become an investment risk as countries take serious actions to clear their air and protect the climate.

“Investors have been pushing for coal and other fossil fuel companies to face the facts and adapt their business models to thrive in a carbon-constrained world.”

Photo: Greenpeace

Further reading:

‘Underestimated’ coal emissions rising 4% per year – study

Environmental regulation to slow demand for coal, says report

Thermal coal investments ‘high risk strategy’, say analysts

Bank of England to assess ‘carbon bubble’ risk

‘Carbon bubble’ risk reinforces the case for fossil fuel divestment

Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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