The London Stock Exchange, in partnership with BlackRock, one of the largest asset managers in the world and the Natural Resource Defense Council, announced today the launch of the "FTSE Developed ex-Fossil Fuels Index Series."
The ex-Fossil Index is basically a ledger of public companies traded on the London Stock Exchange that excludes companies linked to exploration, ownership or extraction of carbon-based fossil fuel reserves.
So investors big and small (from students just starting out to massive pension funds) can easily invest in a set of companies that are not involved in the business of pumping greenhouse gas into our atmosphere for profit, and the overheating of our planet.
If not more importantly, this move by the FTSE and BlackRock sends a message to the investment community that the days of ignoring the long-term risks of carbon-intensive industries, to reap the benefits of short-term gains now, are slowly coming to a close.
When this idea that carbon-intensive industries are a financially risky investment takes hold, we will likely see a rapid large scale investment in renewable technologies like wind, solar, geothermal and the like.
So this news today is a big deal. It is a big move forward when an institutional investor as big as BlackRock sends a signal like this to the markets.
While politicians, with few exceptions of course, continue to drag their feet and play more with words than real commitments, big players in the financial world are starting to move. And we all know there are two things politicians love: money and votes. So our elected officials will likely perk up to this latest move.
According to Francis Beinecke of the NRDC,
This initiative is about creating the kind of world we want to leave for the next generation. We want to move toward a world that no longer relies on dirty energy that threatens our future, damages our communities and destabilizes our climate.
Call me a crazy optimist, but there is change in the air.