Could your savings save the planet?
When Covid-19 upended our lives in March, Rishi Sunak became the hero of the hour by emptying the Treasury’s coffers to support the jobless and keep our economy afloat.
It was the kind of quick-thinking fiscal response our country needed at a time of crisis — similar to the Treasury’s bank bailouts in 2008.
But when I consider these quick responses, I can’t help but think we were in an emergency even before the pandemic — a climate emergency. And the government’s reaction to that crisis has paled in comparison to its Covid response.
We need to take fast and meaningful action to tackle the global climate crisis just as we’ve worked to tackle coronavirus and its economic impact. But where would the funding come from? And do we really trust governments to get it done in time?
The good news is this funding already exists — and it’s controlled entirely by individuals. It comes in the form of private savings and investments, the tune of $140 trillion globally.
Tapping into this money is another matter entirely. That’s where our Global Returns Project comes in.
This new climate initiative looks to harness some of that $140 trillion by encouraging individuals to “Reinvest in Earth”: to commit just 0.25 per cent of their savings and investments annually to not-for-profit climate solutions.
Too often in the debate about how to protect our planet, we ignore the importance of not-for-profits for climate action. But these play a crucial role. After all, no free-market solutions exist for suing polluters, protecting rainforests, or accelerating clean energy to the billion people with no power. That’s where not-for-profits come in.
Some quick maths reveals that, by Reinvesting in Earth, just three per cent of people with savings could raise a staggering $10bn every year for those powerful non-profits. That money could be used to protect and support natural systems, while governments and businesses catch up and make the necessary legislative and corporate changes.
If enough people join us now, we can convince the biggest financial institutions to make Reinvesting in Earth normal and easy for everyone. In giving their clients the ability to easily Reinvest in Earth, this small change could have massive positive implications for funding climate initiatives. That’s how we get to $10bn a year, every year.
Everywhere I look, I see evidence that we’re ready to change the way we fund climate solutions. Financial institutions want to be part of tackling the climate crisis, and individual savers and investors do too.
We are on the brink of a breakthrough in the effort to address climate change. Our response to Covid has taught us that real change is within reach if we all commit to it. Reinvesting in Earth allows us to fund some of the world’s most effective not-for-profit climate solutions at incredible scale. It’s time for the financial services sector to implement this simple solution.
To learn more about the Global Returns Project and get involved, please visit www.globalreturnsproject.earth.
Main image credit: Getty