Clean Energy | September 27, 2018

Generation charts the coming disruptions to climate and inequality

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

The Sustainability Trends Report is becoming to the sustainability revolution what Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends report is to technology.

With more than 200 indicators, Generation Investment Management’s second annual report charts challenges and opportunities in energy, urban mobility, responsible consumers, health and wellbeing and the future of work. A sampling:

  • Falling cost curves for clean energy and battery storage are driving uptake and investment, especially in emerging markets.
  • A map of “robot density” shows where automation is uprooting low-skilled jobs. Online skills marketplaces and up-skilling platforms are matching talent supply and demand.
  • Cancer survival rates are improving. But rates of non-communicable diseases are rising in emerging markets. Life expectancy is diverging by class.
  • Growth in meat consumption is slowing. Meat alternatives are still a small portion of sales.
  • Electric vehicle sales are booming worldwide (think buses in China). Sales lag in the U.S.

“More and more investors recognize that every investment they make is running some level of sustainability risk,” Generation’s Colin le Duc told ImpactAlpha. The firm, founded by Al Gore and David Blood in 2004, has $20 billion under management, including $1.2 billion in two private equity funds.

Through accelerated innovation, consumer demand or government intervention, le Duc says, “the likelihood of disruption is going up.” The transition to a low-carbon, inclusive economy is underway. Says le Duc, “Our assertion is that it’s just accelerating.”