Cleaning our planet through impact investing. 

Readers, We are going to be frank. Single-use plastics are making a significantly awful impact on our environment. Tons of plastic garbage is filling the oceans and is hurting the organisms living inside of them and the humans on land. While this ever-present threat of this warfare against plastic seems overwhelming, there is good news. Through a specific type of investments, known as impact investments, you can use your wealth as a tool to combat environmental destruction, increase the production of plastic alternatives, and even make a healthy return.

Impact investing is a new trend sweeping the world that allows investors to make money while also making contributions to solving social, economic, and environmental issues. It focuses on both for-profit companies that have expressed intent in making a positive impact through their business model and nonprofits with revenue. Impact investing has emerged from the simple goal of reducing the harmful effects of business activity on the community and environment surrounding a company. The investment can be made in both emerging and developed markets.

With a growing need to find a sustainable alternative to single-use plastics, trillions of dollars are being donated worldwide to companies developing such products. Here we will explore why you should consider this quickly growing trend.

Why invest in plastic alternatives?

Currently, there are over five trillion pieces of plastic debris polluting our ocean, and the problem is only getting worse as days pass. It is predicted that by 2050, the amount of plastic will surpass the weight of the fish that live in the waters.

Let us look at some statistics:

  • According to National Geographic, a single-use plastic bag is typically used for roughly 15 minutes before being thrown away.
  • Once it is thrown away, it takes between 500 and 1,000 years to degrade.
  • The United States itself goes through 100 billion plastic bags in a single year, said the UN.
  • Worldwide, the population uses 1 trillion plastic bags!

The issues surrounding single-use plastics are at the forefront of the minds of many governments and international groups, which are writing it into legislation. Some countries are saying goodbye to plastic bags completely, including the US, Canada, and the UK. Others, such as many European nations, are getting rid of other single-use plastic products like plastic straws, food containers, and cotton bud sticks.

With all of this in mind, companies around the world are working hard to innovate products that can replace the single-use plastics we are throwing away every day. Nations that are beginning to ban single-use plastic are making the need for these developments crucial. Scientists and entrepreneurs cannot get it done alone. Over $30 trillion is held in sustainable investments around the world, and there is expected to be more! Between 2016 and 2018, socially responsible and sustainable investments rose by more than 38% and only seems to be growing as people realize the effects on the environment that are being made by plastics.

What are plastic alternatives?

Plastic alternatives are products that are not made of single-use plastic, which is plastic that cannot be recycled or re-used; therefore, it has no other choice than to sit in garbage dumps. For example, Isreal-based startup, UBQ Materials, is working to develop products they say will revolutionize waste management and completely do away with landfills. The company raised $30 million through private investors. UBQ claims to have developed a technology that can convert all kinds of trash into small, plastic-like pieces, similar to the plastic pellets that are melted into shapes for production.

Another example comes from EcoSafe, a company based in Vancouver, Canada, that produces film products that are compostable. The products are made of a kind of polyester that is mostly petroleum-based. The demand for these products is allowing companies like UBQ Materials and EcoSafe to thrive. EcoSafe president, Geoff Woolley, says the company has grown more than four times its size in the past six years!

The Guardian and Ribena are two of the latest companies that are switching to more sustainable materials. The Guardian will be switching to a potato starch-based compostable material for wrapping supplements in the weekend paper, and Ribena is switching to a 100% recyclable plastic bottle. These two projects launched in January of 2020.

Overall there is a rising interest and investments in companies that are finding alternative materials to plastic, more spending on recycling infrastructure around the world, and a shift in a global “reduce, reuse, recycle” mindset. Even plastic products that are not seen by everyone, such as plastics in supply chains, will hopefully one day be replaced.

Impact Investing with Alpen Partners

Through impact investing, investors can make a direct impact on issues surrounding environmental sustainability, such as alternative plastics, social issues, or other causes. These investors align their wealth with the changes they want to see in the world. Not only does impact investing bring change upon the world, but it allows the investor to earn capital. With so many different ways to invest, there is an option for everyone. There are several different ways to get started, including impact-focused equities, bonds, and ETFs.

Alpen Partners is launching a practice focusing on impact investing in efforts to respond to the challenges we are facing as a planet. Sustainable investments are growing in popularity among global investors, and our firm wants to be at the forefront of creating alternatives for high net worth investors to have their investments reflect their values.

Through partnerships with a leading specialist in the sustainable investment space, Alpen Partners will offer portfolios that are focused on the best long-term sustainable investments that are equally dedicated to seeking solutions to some of the issues we face today. These portfolios offer measurable social and environmental impact while continuing to focus on balance sheet quality and capital efficiency.

Advisor Opinion

Responding to the challenges in our environment, Alpen Partners emphasizes on investing sustainable and seek to reduce global waste such as plastic consumption.