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von | Aug 30, 2019

Al Gore – ESG Investment Practices

Since serving for eight years as vice president of the United States under President Bill Clinton, Al Gore has become one of the world’s most prominent figures in the fight against climate change. Today, Gore’s work against climate change includes significant ESG investment—most notably in his founding of Generation Investment Management, a sustainability-focused firm that currently manages more than $18 billion in assets.

Nobel Peace Prizewinner and Bestselling Author In 2007, Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for his work educating the public about the urgency of global warming. He was also the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary about climate change, An Inconvenient Truth.

Gore is a prolific author on the subject of environmentalism, with best-selling books including An Inconvenient Truth; An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power; The Assault on Reason and The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. The audio book for An Inconvenient Truth won a Grammy award for Best Spoken Word Album. An Early Advocate for Change Gore became interested in global warming while studying at Harvard in the 1960s. He took a class with professor Roger Revelle, who was one of the first scientists to measure the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Gore went on to study law, but dropped out to run for Congress.

As a freshman congressman in 1976, Gore convened the first congressional hearings to address climate change. He also co-sponsored hearings about the problems of toxic waste and global warming. Later, while serving as a senator, he brought together representatives from more than 42 countries in an attempt to create what he called the Global Marshall Plan, an international agreement taking steps to halt global warming. His book Earth in the Balance, published in 1992, laid out Gore’s proposals, including rapid development of greener technologies and “comprehensive change in the economic ‘rules of the road’ by which we measure the impact of our decisions on the environment.” He also became a strong advocate for the Kyoto Protocol, which commits signatory nations to emissions reductions. Despite his sustained advocacy, the U.S. has never ratified the treaty.

Generation Investment In 2004, Gore cofounded Generation Investment Management, a firm committed to sustainable investing.

Generation’s mission statement includes high standards of sustainability, stating that a truly sustainable company is one “that provides goods and services consistent with a low-carbon, prosperous, equitable, healthy and safe society.” It emphasizes that a company’s sustainability practices must also drive its revenues and profitability, increasing the incentive for investors to turn toward greener companies. Generation issues an annual Sustainability Trends Report, which details the progress being made—by both consumers and businesses—toward a greener economy.

Climate Reality ProjectGore also founded the Climate Reality Project, an organization working to create a global solution to climate change. The organization’s Pricing Pollution campaign advocates for a tax on emissions, a strategy many countries have used to help lower greenhouse gases and encourage development of renewables. Another of the project’s campaigns is the County Climate Coalition, which pushes local governments within the U.S. to independently pledge to uphold the commitments of the Paris Climate Accord, despite President Trump’s plan to pull out of it. (Under the rules of the Paris Accord, no country can formally withdraw until late 2020.) Counties that join the coalition see themselves as part of the effort to “slow the dangerous pace of global warming while advancing environmental sustainability, protecting public health and leading innovation.”

The project’s 100 Percent Committed campaign provides tools for individuals, organizations, businesses and local governments to transition to 100 percent renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels. The project has helped cities, towns, universities and resorts commit to a full transition. The campaign works to educate the public about innovations in renewable energy and its ever-decreasing costs, claiming that “100 percent renewable is 100 percent doable.”