Whenever I travel, I try to wear a Canadian flag pinned to my backpack. As a Canadian abroad, you are almost always made to feel welcome and automatically assumed to be friendly, polite and proficient in moose-riding (okay, I made that last one up). In a game of word association, “Canada” would be likely to elicit responses like “sorry”, “eh” or “cold”.
But our reputation on the global stage isn’t always so innocuous. As we all know, Canada’s environmental track record in the last decade has been less than inspiring. From dropping out of the Kyoto Accord to shutting down climate research stations to advocating tar sands development and new pipelines, the last government didn’t exactly have “green” written all over them.
Which is why we’re heartened to see that as our new federal government touts a much more climate-friendly agenda, Canadians are rallying behind the cause. It’s clear: Canadians want decisive action on climate change, now.
They also want to participate in the solution, as evidenced by the overwhelming demand CoPower experienced in response to the launch of our first retail-friendly Green Bond. The bond issue sold out in just three weeks – twice as quickly as targeted – with a large queue of eager environmental investors lined up for our next issuance. It’s interesting to note that these earliest adopters span a wide range of demographics – disproving any notions that millennials don’t want to invest, or that retirees are unlikely to navigate an online investment platform!
Investors who took part in CoPower’s Green Bond offering ranged from ages 24 to 87, came from across Canada, and identified as journalists, economists, wealth advisors, retirees and even students.
According to a recent article, Canada has one of the world’s highest proportions of “aspirational consumers” at about 40%. This means that almost half of the population tries to actively work towards environmental improvement by choosing products and services with minimal footprints. The incentive to do so – unsurprisingly - increases where there are monetary benefits to be gained; hence the popularity of green bonds and other environmentally-backed securities.
Almost all of our investors in Green Bond I, as well as those surveyed who were not able to participate in this round, were attracted to the opportunity because of the environmental impact, and compelled to invest because of the financial opportunity.
Here are some of our favourite reasons for investing with CoPower, as sited by clients:
“Environmental Impact + Steady ROI”
“Putting your money where your mouth is and making a difference is what I work for everyday so my savings should too! Financial investment is where most decisions are made therefore it is important for me to help support a fund that supports that.”
“Proving to the world that you can earn a decent return on green investments.”
“Because the green economy is viable and the current oil & gas economy is short-sighted.”
“Because 10 degrees for Canada over this century doesn't work for me!”
“We are having difficulty finding a way to invest money without supporting companies that we do not support on an ethical basis.”
This last point echoes what we have heard in conversations with countless investors. Individuals want investments that align with their values, but have a very hard time finding opportunities that meet their financial and impact standards. They are dissatisfied with what their financial institutions have to offer in terms of both impact and return (particularly in the current market conditions where yields are low and volatility is high), and are motivated to look beyond.
In short, demand for green investments is real -- Canadians want their portfolio to reflect their concern for the environment. And supply will follow! The challenge ahead is in building accessible financial products that can connect investors with the very real opportunities in clean energy. The good news is, CoPower is hard at work doing just that! (Stay tuned for Green Bond II – register now to get approved on our platform).