Posted on: July 28th, 2017
I have Raj Thamothram of Preventable Surprises to ‘thank’ for bringing this shocker of a story to my attention.
In brief – this is a tale of the investment markets rewarding a company for turning its back on green issues and attempting to turn back the clock.
There is much to say and many questions to ask – including how on earth can a company go from ‘green’ to ‘brown in 2017 (even in the USA)? Can some investors really feel it is right to back fossil fuels over renewables post COP21, post TCFD report, post IFoA Risk Alert … and with so many major investors signed up to the PRI and other initiatives? Evidently so.
The silver lining is that NRG appears to have set its renewables division free to follow its own strategy, unencumbered by the darker forces pulling them back down to their fossil fuel roots.
This bizarre story is beautifully told in some detail by their former CEO here on GreenBiz.
Further searches online help build up a picture of the heartache that went before… highlighting the not so subtle differences between activist investors and responsible engagement.
In the current topsy turvy political climate what happens next is hard to predict. What is likely to happen in the longer term feels far easier to call.
My recommendation for major investors, particularly those with ESG and SRI strategies is: engagers (particularly PRI signatories) – use the tools in your armoury and get engaging, divesters – get divesting – and positive, thematic investors – pick your theme!
A thought for financial advisers and others… we all know that most individual investors invest for the longer term, so take some time to identify likeminded fund managers. All investors are in the market for profit. Not all seek short term profit at any cost.
To find funds that have forward looking, responsible and intelligent climate related investment polices (and who understand environmental as well as financial risks) check out our free to use Fund EcoMarket SRI fund research hub.