Do you know what’s interesting about The Martian? Aside from the poo vegetables?
There’s no villain. The story is simply about how a group of people use science and ingenuity to get a stranded astronaut home.
This sort of collaborative problem-solving is what separates us from all the other animals on earth, and if one thing will eventually save our global ecosystem, it's exactly that: our inherent tendency towards cooperative thinking.
There’s plenty of evidence of this beginning to happen at the business level, and Swell — an investment vehicle backed by Pacific Life — is connecting those businesses with socially responsible investors. And it's ... kind of crushing it. To the degree that you should think about investing yourelf.
Swell currently boasts a 25.39% return on its renewable fund, which easily outperforms the S&P (11.96%). Like most SRI or ESG funds, they focus on the environment, social impact and governance. But where they’re different is that rather than tracking the sector, like an ETF, they cherrypick companies after a deep-dive analysis that’d satisfy Benjamin Graham.
Take a gander at this interactive map of America’s energy sources and you’ll see that natural gas is currently responsible for powering America's grids at the rate of 520,000 megawatt hours a day. Coal comes in a distant second, and nuclear is tied with hydropower and (believe it or not) wind. But what’s really telling is that our grid and most of our energy plants are more than 50 years old, and direly in need of upgrades.
Swell’s renewable fund invests in companies like PPL, which makes batteries to store solar; BDC, which makes smart grid solutions; and Analogue Devices, which makes software to improve solar and wind generation. Their other portfolios focus on cleantech, waste management, disease eradication and human health.
Baseline for investing? A measly $50. And, like we mentioned, Swell is currently crushing it. Sounds like a no brainer.
Sure, legislation will help curb contamination to our air and water supplies. But those battles always have a villain. Investing in these socially responsible companies is an investment in human cooperation and problem solving. Much like The Martian, it’s about doing things better before it’s too late.
Long live American innovation.