Former Obama Sustainability Chief Says Personal Investing Can Help Combat Climate Change

November 29, 2018
Updated 3mo ago

By Tracey Cheek

Ignorance is a major impediment in the effort to reverse climate change, said the former chief sustainability officer for the Obama administration.

“I think lot of it is lack of awareness, these are topics that a lot of energy nerds like myself have been thinking of for a long time," Christine Harada, the president of i(x) investments told Cheddar on Wednesday.

"But I hypothesize that many of your viewers, when they go to Home Depot ($HD), they don’t think about what is the most green light bulb, unless you actually see the labels that are physically there helping to educate the consumers about that.”

Last week's climate report from the Trump administration cast an ominous shadow ーand according to Harada, if the U.S. fails to initiate change, economic sectors across the board will get hit.

“If we stay status quo I think we’ll be hit mostly from infrastructure ー a lot of cities along the coastline," she said. “I think you're also going to see a lot of shortages with respect to water, with wildfires we’re facing in California ー a lot of forest management-type activities on the front lines as well.”

But millennials tend to lead with their values when they buy.

"They are much more savvy and aware," Harada said, "much more attuned to how we think about the environment and climate and energy, etc."

Younger investors are increasingly interested in environmentally-conscious investing. A report by TD Ameritrade revealed that about 60 percent of millennials think making socially-responsible investments is important ー compared to 36 percent of baby boomers.

For millennials and others who want to invest in social good, Harada urges them to "think about investing in the more 'un-sexy' industries ー concrete, infrastructure, transportation, things of that nature."

"Those are the long-lasting investments that really make a big difference on the environment and how we think about extracting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere."