6 pillars of the economy to making a positive impact with your investments

Insights, Sustainable Value
05/05/2021 Reading time: 3 minute(s)
A recycling factory photographed from above where recyclables are neatly separated. Exemplary for the sustainability topic “Lifecycle Management”

Thinking sustainably also means planning disposal even before production. After all, reusing resources and reducing waste are becoming increasingly important. © Getty

What can responsible investors do to help mitigate these developments?

Our planet is facing exponentially increasing threats. Our climate is changing at an alarming rate and we’re already feeling the effects. Indispensable natural resources like clean water are becoming scarce. Waste is causing mounting issues on land and in oceans.

Scientists estimate that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would reduce the odds of initiating irreversible effects of climate change. It is clear that the global community needs a plan to address these challenges, and those plans will require massive funding. This is where investors can act as an indispensable part of the solution.

In order to achieve this, key areas like the industry, transport, building construction, and waste management need to lower emissions significantly and simultaneously, otherwise the global greenhouse gas reduction targets of 80 to 95% that governments set under the Paris Agreement in 2015 will be out of reach.

All parts of the economy (not just some) would need to decarbonize to achieve the 1.5-degree pathway.

Should any source of emissions delay action, others would need to compensate through further greenhouse gas reductions.


But perhaps the biggest risk is seeing the climate transition as a taxation-like cost to the economy, rather than a series of investment opportunities. For investors, we believe the opportunities lie within six pillars of the economy.

We call them impact pillars, because investors can make a measureable impact by investing in businesses that are leaders in these six areas while generating solid returns. These companies enable a wider adoption of beneficial business practices and provide products and solutions for others to reduce or avoid emissions.

The following six impact pillars are based on and aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).



The 6 impact pillars

Based on and aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)



Pillar 1: Clean energy

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Pillar 2: Building technology

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Pillar 3: Resource-efficient industry

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Pillar 4: Clean water

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Pillar 5: Low-emission transportation

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  • image


    Impact pillar 5: Low-emission transportation

    Traveling without shame

    The logistics and transportation sector is a significant contributor to global emissions and pollution. We concentrate on companies that shape the future of mobility by offering innovative solutions and key technologies to better connect a global and converging world through improved logistics as well as low-emission transportation that saves time and resources.



    10 https://ourworldindata.org/co2-emissions-from-transport


Pillar 6: Lifecycle management

Click on the infographic & learn more





Three companies paving a path to a healthier world

Structuring your portfolio based on these six impact pillars sets a solid foundation, but a few examples might help you to better understand the concept. So what kind of businesses do the six pillars lead you to?

We will introduce three companies, which represent three of our pillars: clean energy, clean water and lifecycle management.


  • Three examples at a glance


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The race to reduce global warming is heating up

People, politicians and international organisations are now uniting to fight climate change. With the new administration in the White House, the US will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. In recent reports, the US administration has notified supporters that President Joe Biden will declare a goal of halving the nation’s emissions from 2005 levels as he pushes to transform vast sectors of the economy and become a leader in the global fight against climate change. A reduction of 50% by 2030 would represent a near doubling of a climate target for 2025 set by the Obama administration.

EU lawmakers have agreed, in principle, a proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared with 1990 levels by the end of the decade. This is significantly more ambitious than the EU’s previous target of 40%, and means the EU region could become climate neutral by 2050.

The global community is rising to the challenge of reducing global warming. We, as investors, have the opportunity and a duty to play our part. The best way we can be a part of the solution is to do what we do best, allocate capital to companies that will prosper in an environment where improving the health of our planet makes good business sense.


Even with public, political, and legislative support:

Private sector funding is needed to propel the transformation to lower emissions.



Example image on the megatrend of technology conversion: A robotic hand tries to catch a goose feather, which slowly floats downward. © GettyImages

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Find out more about Megatrend Investing


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To the introduction (with panel discussion)