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COVER STORY | Stocks protecting the planet and digital lifestyles

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Two things happened during the middle week of May that propelled the importance of a cleaner energy future even more onto centre stage. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, halted the ability to pay for his company’s products through cryptocurrency. Apparently, it uses a lot of energy. A second, less glamorous happening, though far more significant than the exclamations of a celebrity CEO, is the fact that companies are beginning to play along in decarbonising the planet: The price of a tonne of carbon rose higher than €50 for the first time. This is of fundamental importance.

Humans’ exploitation of earth is well documented. In a recent World Economic Forum report, it is summarised as follows: 32% of the planet’s forests are destroyed, 40% of invertebrate pollinators (such as bees) face extinction, land surface productivity (to produce food among others) shrunk by 23%, due to land degradation (such as erosion), and 50% percent of species face extinction by the end of the century – that is in 79 years’ time. Left unchecked, global warming will reach 4.1°C to 4.8°C above pre-industrial levels by 2099.

Ironically, the drive towards cleaner energy generation – and thus moving away from humans’ millennia-long reliance on carbon to generate heat – has increased the demand for certain minerals. These range from lithium (for making batteries), copper (as part of the alternators in wind turbines) and rhodium (included in the catalytic converters of automobiles to reduce noxious gasses) to nickel (also used in making batteries) and iridium (a hardening agent for platinum, which is also used in catalytic converters). One just needs to look at the share prices of the miners of these metals lately to see how the demand and supply dynamics of the mined minerals are playing out.

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Rand - Dollar
15.74
-0.6%
Rand - Pound
19.80
-0.9%
Rand - Euro
16.81
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.16
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.1%
Gold
1,853.82
-0.7%
Silver
22.00
-0.5%
Palladium
2,010.00
+0.1%
Platinum
949.00
-0.8%
Brent Crude
113.56
+0.1%
Top 40
61,176
0.0%
All Share
67,585
-0.2%
Resource 10
74,448
+0.1%
Industrial 25
72,681
+1.3%
Financial 15
15,434
-2.4%
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