On this year’s Earth Day, representatives from 150 governments, including 40 heads of state, signed the Paris Agreement at a United Nations ceremony in New York City. Collectively, the national climate plans under this agreement represent at least a US$13.5 trillion market for the energy sector alone in energy efficiency and low carbon technologies through 2030.
For instance China committed to grow renewables to 20% of its energy mix in 15 years. To put that in perspective, 20% of China’s energy is equivalent to the entire US energy sector. India committed to generate 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
We Mean Business, a coalition of 374 companies with a combined $7.8 trillion in revenue and 183 investors who collectively manage $20.7 trillion in assets, said it chose the Earth Day to release its report about the economic opportunity to support the governments’ committing to action.
The coalition said that member companies that have invested in clean energy and low carbon initiatives are seeing an average 27% return on those investments. They are also experiencing “first mover advantages in low-carbon markets, more resilient operations and supply chains and a stronger reputation among employees, consumers and other stakeholders.”
Ikea Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard said that the global furniture retailer has seen a robust ROI on its low-carbon products, particularly LED lighting, which is now the only kind of lighting it sells. Anirban Ghosh, chief sustainability officer of Mahindra & Mahindra is part of this coalition that is spearheading this drive.
GreenBiz quoted Howard saying that “while action to address climate change used to be described as “a burden and cost to be shared,” now it is being described as a huge opportunity for innovation, investment and job growth.” It also quoted a US Dept of Energy report which stated “New investment in renewable energy generation in 2015 exceeded, for the first time, new investment in fossil-fuel generation.”