One of the easiest things to do in business is to talk the talk. It’s so easy to claim your company can do this or you excel at that.
Backing it up is another story altogether.
Walking the walk (or walking your talk if, like basically every business, you’re advertising or marketing what you do to the world) is the hallmark of a quality company (or quality individual at that). It’s easy to say a lot of great things about yourself; it’s a lot harder to follow through on those claims. And putting your money where your mouth is one of the surest signs that you’re serious about walking your specific talk.
Regardless of whether or not you believe climate change is a real and present danger, most European states believe that it is an existential threat. And considering most of Europe is surrounded by oceans and criss-crossed by rivers, if water levels rise, many of those nations could be sunk by the rising tide. While the path to greener policy is relatively clear — invest in more wind, solar and tidal energy, possibly nuclear, try to encourage electric cars instead of petroleum ones, etc. — it can be harder to completely disinvest your country from fossil fuels.
By that I mean even if your energy grid is 100% stocked with renewable energy, many elements of your government — from federal/state employee pension programs, 401k-like instruments for public sector workers, union pensions, etc. — are often invested in either companies or index funds that have some petroleum firms within the family of companies held by each respective investment vehicle.
It makes sense — investment instruments, even those owned by institutions as large as countries, exist largely to maximize earnings and growth in order to better serve each’s respective constituency. That’s what investments are for, after all. And, one of the surest paths to continual growth over the last 30+ years has been to invest in oil and natural gas. They’re commodities that have historically proven perpetually desirable and necessary and therefore valuable. College endowment funds, union pensions, federal pensions, etc., have invested in petroleum companies for a long, long time.
That might not sound like that big of a deal, but the country’s sovereign wealth fund is >$1,000,000,000,000 — otherwise known as a Trillion Dollars. Trillion — with a ‘T”.
According to Bloomberg, “Norway’s fund is the world’s largest equity investor, controlling about 1.5 percent of global stocks. If it follows through on its proposal, it would be the first to abandon the sector altogether.”
There has been a grassroots movement among environmentalists to pressure institutional investors to divest from fossil fuels in an effort to steer money away from “dirty” energy toward “cleaner” alternatives. But, that movement hasn’t had success on this large of a level to date:
“Norway’s proposal to sell off $35 billion in oil and natural gas stocks brings sudden and unparalleled heft to a once-grassroots movement to enlist investors in the fight against climate change… Norges Bank Investment Management would not be the first institutional investor to back away from fossil fuels. But until now, most have been state pension funds, universities and other smaller players that have limited their divestments to coal, tar sands or some of the other dirtiest fossil fuels.”
Now, we’re not saying you should or should not invest in fossil fuel companies. We’re not even taking a stand on climate change per se. What we are taking a stand on, however, is walking your talk. The Scandinavian countries have all stated, unequivocally, they believe climate change is real, man-made, and an existential threat to humanity. And to that end, they are following through on combating that perceived issue by not only investing majorly in renewable energy sources at home, but completely divesting their sovereign wealth fund from the entire fossil fuel sector. That’s backing up your words with action.
At ENO8, we don’t control a trillion dollar equity fund (man, wouldn’t it be nice if we did…). But, we do pride ourselves on walking our talk. We consider ourselves experts in innovation — learning the newest technologies and methodologies to help our clients and partners solve their hardest business problems with the most cutting-edge tech available. That’s who we are, and that’s what we do. You can hear the talk; it’s in the previous sentence. Watching us walk that talk is something else entirely. So check out our case studies. Give us a call. Talk to our satisfied clients; we’d be happy to put you in touch.
Because at ENO8, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk it. Put us to the test.