A British billionaire has criticised the government for failing to act on climate change and has called on businesses to step up instead.
Karam Hinduja said a “wave of impact investment” is required to create the “global paradigm shift needed to save the planet.”
He said despite a surge of support for the Greens in the European Elections and a steady rise up for the political agenda of the Green New Deal, there are still no “green governments” on the horizon.
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But he added it is now up to the private sector to act on climate change and step up where governments have failed.
The spread of climate science denial and the rise of right wing populism also threatens to derail meaningful action taking place, he said.
“It is becoming clear there is a limit on what states can do on their own to turn back the tide on environmental disasters, so now the spotlight is on what the private sector can do instead by ramping up investments that make a positive contribution to the environment,” said Mr Hinduja, chief executive of Karma Network, which provides opinion and analysis on ethical investment.
He added that this “could put people instead of government leaders in the driving seat in the battle to counter climate change.”
With a surge in long-term investment contributing to environmental sustainability, “young people are interested in more than just making money – they are interested in doing good while they make money,” he said.
He added: “Why invest in dying products like fossil fuels when advances in clean energy, green subsidies and better regulation could effectively leave coal, oil and gas assets effectively stranded, wiping as much as $4 trillion of value from the global economy?
“And when the world’s largest tobacco company announces it is moving out of making cigarettes, you know it is a time for change.”
Philip Morris International, the company that owns Marlboro cigarettes, announced in January this year it will stop making cigarettes and begin rolling out smokeless alternatives such as e-cigarettes instead.
But Mr Hinduja said money does not provide the solution to manifesting real change.
“The world’s environmental problems will not go away simply by throwing money at them. New challenges need new solutions and next-generation investors want their investments to have an impact. They want to address the environmental challenges they face, whether they do it by investing in infrastructure, finance, or healthcare.”
Mr Hinduja said this is why it was now critical for investors, analysts and entrepreneurs to share their perspectives on best business practice and “on smarter strategies for a more uncertain future.”