Environmental Investing Articles

Sustainable Environmental Insights from Vermont Financial Advisor Josh Kruk.





A Cure for Insomnia

April 15, 2021

The American Sleep Association's website has a list of nine tips to help you fall asleep quickly. Some of them aren't as exactly ground-breaking. For example, number 3 is "Avoid things that will keep you awake."

In the spirit of collaboration, we’ll offer a tenth tip: “Read financial disclosures.” There is nothing like page after page of dense legalese to render even a chronic insomniac unconscious. Insurance companies have been using this technique to sell annuities for decades (“Hmm…it looks like there is something here in section IV, paragraph A, sub-paragraph iii about how my surrender value may be substantially less than…Zzzzzzzzzzz”).

Though we are mindful of the risk that you may doze off, we do want to alert you to one increasingly important area of disclosure for public companies: exposure to climate change. We are focused on this because, in addition to providing clients with a way to align their investments with their values, our environmental investing strategies are designed to avoid companies that have the greatest financial vulnerability to a shifting climate.

We look for funds where the underlying companies generate below-average carbon emissions and have little or no exposure to fossil fuel assets. In order to make that environmental assessment, we (and other investors who have similar priorities) need accurate data.

The ideal source for that data is the companies themselves through reliable disclosure in their public financial filings. Companies are in the best position to evaluate their own environmental risks. They can do this by quantifying their carbon footprint and identifying which of their assets and revenue sources are most susceptible to a warming planet.

This area has seen significant progress over the last several years, but there are still wide gaps among companies in the quality and completeness of disclosure, and there are likely still many companies that are miscalculating or under-reporting the level of risk they face.

For that reason, One Day In July recently joined over 1,900 other entities globally and signed on as a supporter of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). TCFD is an international body dedicated to improving the transparency, consistency and reliability of corporate disclosures around climate risk so that investors can make more informed purchase and sale decisions. We hope this succeeds, and we hope they have enough coffee.

For more detail on TCFD, see this summary on our website or visit the TCFD site. A list of the supporters of TCFD can be found here. One Day In July is included in the “Asset Management/Investment Management” group in the Industry menu.


Quotable

"Wyoming is pulling out all the stops to try to save the coal industry." - Travis Deti, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association.

"I'm dead against shutting proven things down to make renewables more attractive. Not on my watch." - Rupie Phillips, State Senator from West Virginia.

"Sitting on a lot of coal reserves is no longer a path to prosperity. These states are stumbling around to find some way to delay the inevitable transition." - Bill Corcoran, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign.

Notes

1. All quotes are from "Coal Country Races to Shield Itself from Biden's Climate Plan", Bloomberg.com, March 29, 2021.


By Shelburne, Vermont Financial Advisor Josh Kruk

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