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Sustainability as an Investment Class

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WEF Impact Investing Report

wef-impact-investing-thumbOver the last few years, much excitement has been generated around the term “impact investing” – an investment approach that intentionally seeks to create both financial return and measurable positive social or environmental impact. Despite the buzz, there is limited consensus among mainstream investors and specialized niche players on what impact investing is, what asset classes are most relevant, how the ecosystem is structured and what constraints the sector faces. As a result, there is widespread confusion regarding what impact investing promises and ultimately delivers.

This report is a result of engaging over 150 mainstream investors, business executives, philanthropic leaders and policy-makers through interviews, workshops and conference calls. The overall objective of the Mainstreaming Impact Investing initiative is to provide an initial assessment of the sector and identify the factors constraining the acceleration of capital into the field of impact investing.

Download the report (PDF)

 

Alternative energy will no longer be alternative

Alternative energy will no longer be alternative

http://www.globalfundexchange.com/blog/2013/05/31/alternative-energy-will-no-longer-be-alternative/

“Renewable” power will soon start to be seen as normal.

Wind farms already provide 2% of the world’s electricity, and their capacity is doubling every three years. If that growth rate is maintained, wind power will overtake nuclear’s contribution to the world’s energy accounts in about a decade. Though it still has its opponents, wind is thus already a grown-up technology. But it is in the field of solar energy, currently only a quarter of a percent of the planet’s electricity supply, but which grew 86% last year, that the biggest shift of attitude will be seen, for sunlight has the potential to disrupt the electricity market completely.

The underlying cause of this disruption is a phenomenon that solar’s supporters call Swanson’s law, in imitation of Moore’s law of transistor cost. Moore’s law suggests that the size of transistors (and also their cost) halves every 18 months or so. Swanson’s law, named after Richard Swanson, the founder of SunPower, a big American solar-cell manufacturer, suggests that the cost of the photovoltaic cells needed to generate solar power falls by 20% with each doubling of global manufacturing capacity. The upshot (see chart) is that the modules used to make solar-power plants now cost less than a dollar per watt of capacity. Power-station construction costs can add $4 to that, but these, too, are falling as builders work out how to do the job better. And running a solar power station is cheap because the fuel is free.

Coal-fired plants, for comparison, cost about $3 a watt to build in the United States, and natural-gas plants cost $1. But that is before the fuel to run them is bought. In sunny regions such as California, then, photovoltaic power could already compete without subsidy with the more expensive parts of the traditional power market, such as the natural-gas-fired “peaker” plants kept on stand-by to meet surges in demand. Moreover, technological developments that have been proved in the laboratory but have not yet moved into the factory mean Swanson’s law still has many years to run.

Fossil-fuel-powered electricity will not be pushed aside quickly. Fracking, a technological breakthrough which enables natural gas to be extracted cheaply from shale, means that gas-fired power stations, which already produce a fifth of the world’s electricity, will keep the pressure on wind and solar to get better still. But even if natural gas were free, no Swanson’s law-like process applies to the plant required to turn it into electricity. Nuclear power is not a realistic alternative. It is too unpopular and the capital costs are huge. And coal’s days seem numbered. In America, the share of electricity generated from coal has fallen from almost 80% in the mid-1980s to less than a third in April 2012, and coal-fired power stations are closing in droves.

It may take longer to make the change in China and India, where demand for power is growing almost insatiably, and where the grids to take that power from windy and sunny places to the cities are less developed than in rich countries. In the end, though, they too will change as the alternatives become normal, and what was once normal becomes quaintly old-fashioned.

Continue reading this excellent article from the Economist

 

by anric

 

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A book that could change y(our) History – Unlocking the Code of History by David Murrin

A book that could change y(our) History – Unlocking the Code of History by David Murrin

http://www.globalfundexchange.com/blog/2013/05/15/a-book-that-could-change-your-history-unlocking-the-code-of-history-by-david-murrin/

Every now and then a book comes along that can change everything and lead you down (or up) a new path; a path that you would not have discovered without reading it. I wish I had read this book in my twenties or even my thirties. But as St. Augustine once said: “It is better to live with remorse than with regret!” – I am happy to have read it now and introduce it to my friends and family and keep it as far away as possible from my competitors. It gives the reader an amazing insight into how the world really works and why history seems to annoyingly repeat itself and how to benefit from the inevitable consequences that follow along this path.

I first met David Murrin about 10 years ago when he came to our lake in Italy as the keynote speaker to coach our team on geopolitical macro issues affecting our investment decisions. It was hands down one of the best presentations I ever attended. I then lost touch for a few years and was recently reconnected after reading his book.

This book: “Unlocking the Code of History” should be mandatory reading (and testing) for every single college entrant and should ideally become part of the school curriculum. (Yes, its THAT good).

Here’s a link to some of his TV appearances

I highly recommend downloading or ordering the book online. I believe anyone that reads it will gain a tremendous advantage.

More about David:

David has a 2:1 Honours degree in Geophysics from Exeter University. He started his career in the oil exploration business in the jungles of Papua New Guinea where he  worked for almost three years . Since then he has spent the past 25 years in the world of financial markets.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Jeremy Grantham – The Race of our Lives

Jeremy Grantham – The Race of our Lives

http://www.globalfundexchange.com/blog/2013/04/29/jeremy-grantham-the-race-of-our-lives/

“Our global economy, reckless in its use of all resources and natural systems, shows many of the indicators of potential failure that brought down so many civilizations before ours. By sheer luck, though, ours has two features that might just save our bacon: declining fertility rates and progress in alternative energy. Our survival might well depend on doing everything we can to encourage their progress. Vested interests, though, defend the status quo effectively and the majority much prefers optimistic propaganda to uncomfortable truth and wishful thinking rather than tough action. It is likely to be a close race.
The collapse of civilizations is a gripping and resonant topic for many of us and one that has attracted many scholars over the years. They see many possible contributing factors to the collapse of previous civilizations, the evidence pieced together shard by shard from civilizations that often left few records. But some themes reoccur in the scholars’ work: geographic locations that had misfortune in the availability of useful animal and vegetable life, soil, water, and a source of energy; mismanagement in the overuse and depletion of resources, especially forests, soil, and water……

by Anric

 

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Ever wonder why we do this ?

http://www.globalfundexchange.com/blog/2013/04/19/ever-wonder-why-we-do-this/

This one graphic can answer it all in one go

This graphic reproduced courtesy of the World Economic Forum – Global Risks 2013 report is a concise way of illustrating some of the most severe and acute risks that face us today.

The Global Fund Exchange Group, established in 2005 is a specialist investor and strategic consultant focusing on vitally important impact assets in the world of food, water, energy and scarce resources. Founded and led by Anric Blatt and Lauralouise Duffy, the group manages liquid investment funds, custom fund mandates and provides strategic consulting for visionary investors that have become aware that earth’s greatest threats also serve as our most compelling investment opportunities.

by Anric

 

Ever wonder why we do this ?

Ever wonder why we do this ?

http://www.globalfundexchange.com/blog/2013/04/19/ever-wonder-why-we-do-this/

This one graphic can answer it all in one go

This graphic reproduced courtesy of the World Economic Forum – Global Risks 2013 report is a concise way of illustrating some of the most severe and acute risks that face us today.

The Global Fund Exchange Group, established in 2005 is a specialist investor and strategic consultant focusing on vitally important impact assets in the world of food, water, energy and scarce resources. Founded and led by Anric Blatt and Lauralouise Duffy, the group manages liquid investment funds, custom fund mandates and provides strategic consulting for visionary investors that have become aware that earth’s greatest threats also serve as our most compelling investment opportunities.

by Anric

 
 
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