Everyone and his dog are investing in crypto currencies right now, or NFTs (a digital token or share of something, like a song, piece of art etc.)
In the biggest goldrush style investment since the stock market of 1920s America, ordinary people are borrowing money to buy strings of code, or a part share thereof. El Salvador has even made Bitcoin legal tender, officially recognised by the government. So owning a piece of blockchain stamped code is being promoted as an alternative to existing money supply. Perhaps that’s a good thing, certainly for ransomware experts, that is the case. Now it could be that some lucky investors will get very rich from this digital El Dorado but like any Ponzi or pyramid scheme, there have to be lots of losers to fund the winners.
Buying code also uses vast amounts of electrical power because it means more time online and nobody is really interested in talking about how that growing consumer demand – and the demand for charging electric cars and scooters – is going to be met in the future.
So if you are looking to invest long term, maybe there’s a more ethical way? You know, building more efficient homes that don’t consume power by losing heat. Creating a hydrogen car industry, not a battery car industry. Or Councils collecting and sorting waste to fuel the circular economy locally, not the global fast fashion consumption beloved by Instagram trout-pouters?
Here’s some news from Zurich;
Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is launching the Zurich Carbon Neutral World Equity Fund – an innovative investment solution that combines a low-carbon investment strategy with carbon offsetting to boost investment options for climate-conscious life insurance customers. The fund offers well-diversified investment option in low-emission companies and leaders in clean technology. The estimated greenhouse gas emissions from companies in the fund are just 9 tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent per million dollars invested, compared with 68 tons for a traditional investment strategy. The residual emissions from the fund are offset via high-quality, carbon credits to achieve climate neutrality. The new fund will initially be available to customers in Germany, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland and is expected to be offered to customers in other markets starting in 2022.
Alison Martin, CEO EMEA and Bank Distribution said: “There is no longer any debate about the urgency of addressing the climate crisis. That is why we believe it is essential to offer our customers the chance to join efforts with us in taking action. Today we are pleased to offer our life insurance customers the opportunity to save with us and to invest into a low-carbon future with the first carbon neutral unit-linked investment product.”
The new fund launch is the most recent example of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) product innovation at Zurich. Other examples include Zurich Germany introducing an ESG multi asset solution and making it a default for all major distribution channels, Zurich Italy developing an ESG solution based on its flagship ‘MultInvest’ product or more recently, Zurich UK switching almost USD 1bn of its in-force third-party policyholder assets into a new ESG index.
With retail life insurance customers increasingly demanding ESG solutions, Zurich will launch more products and investment solutions in the months ahead. Zurich will also offer responsible investment expertise to our unit-linked customers by aligning its existing ESG integration practices, impact investment capabilities and industry collaboration approach between balance sheet and unit-linked assets. Specifically, Zurich will integrate ESG considerations into its fund selection process, leverage its impact investing experience to help customers target impact goals and further engage with leading asset managers and distributors to advance responsible investment practices.
Peter Giger, a.i. Group Chief Investment Officer, commented: “The company has been pioneering a responsible investment strategy for its own assets since 2012. As one of the largest unit-linked providers, it is our duty to offer our responsible investment expertise to our customers and extend it to unit-linked assets. The launch of the new Zurich Carbon Neutral World Equity Fund is an important step in this direction and another demonstration of Zurich’s ambition to become one of the most responsible and impactful businesses in the world.”