We’ve exhausted the earth’s ecological budget for the year. For the next 4 months, we’ll be ringing up a deficit as the planet can no longer play catch up with our demands

by | Aug 21, 2020 | Blog

This Saturday, it’s Earth Overshoot day, so at The Path we’re exploring our ecological footprint, calculating our own personal overshoot day1, sharing ideas on how to reduce our consumption, and doing what gets us out of bed every day: talking to people about moving their money to invest sustainably.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date – 22 August – when we will have used up more natural resources than our planet can regenerate this year. Over the years, Earth Overshoot Day has fallen earlier and earlier – we’ve been using up the earth’s resources at a faster and faster rate. But 2020 is an exception.

Earth Overshoot day falls 3 weeks later this year2. As a direct result of the coronavirus lockdown, humanity’s ecological footprint was reduced by 9.3% from 2019.

Lockdown has proven that rapid change is not only possible, but also has an immediate impact.

With cars off the road, planes grounded, factories closed and people working from home, energy consumption was down 9% and emissions dropped by 12.5% – translating to a 14.5% decline in our carbon footprint in the 8 months of the year up to Earth Overshoot Day3.

Humanity’s ecological footprint is calculated by a whole range of factors – carbon emissions and deforestation, food and agriculture, roads and urban spaces, even healthcare. That means a whole range of solutions to engage with in our lives and help make a difference4.

We’re now taking baby steps towards normality. This moment of transition is a rare chance to think about what changes we’ll keep up – and what we’re excited about doing more of in the future.

But the biggest difference of all that you can make is to look at how your savings are invested.

Many are shocked to discover that their workplace or personal pension could be propping up fossil fuel companies and other unethical businesses.

Your pension, savings or investments could have 27 times more impact on your personal carbon footprint, compared to all other activities combined.5 It’s estimated that even moving £100,000 from an ‘old style’ pension to a fund with more sustainable investments is the equivalent to taking 6 cars off the road each and every year. Moving to a sustainable fund reroutes money from damaging businesses to those actively helping people and planet. The same £100,000 pension pot, in addition to saving the 26 tonnes of CO2 emissions from those cars, would have other amazing benefits each year, such as generating enough renewable energy to supply 5 houses, avoiding water use equivalent to 347 showers, providing 70 vital medical interventions and nearly 100 hours of education. The list goes on and on, and the choice gets more and more obvious.6

The power really is in your hands. By sending a strong statement to governments and harmful industries that as a society we won’t support the industries destroying our environment, we can all play a part in changing the system.

What’s more, it’s now widely accepted that innovative green businesses and technologies are outperforming polluters, with some of the best investment returns. For the year to date, while the market was down by 3.5%, our medium risk portfolio grew by 5%.

If you’re interested in how you can make your pension or ISA count, click here to arrange a chat with one our expert financial advisers.

1 http://www.footprintcalculator.org/
2 https://www.overshootday.org/2020-calculation/
Calculating Earth Overshoot Day 2020 report
https://www.overshootday.org/solutions/
5 Nordea.com
Estimates provided by our fund analysts.

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