climate in crisis

Green Investing: Using Money to Make a Difference

NBC Universal, Inc.

From the roof to the road to the foods people eat, the Bay Area is going green, and now more people than ever say they want to put their money where their conscience is.

Green investing has caught on recently because it focuses on companies making a difference in the fight against climate change and those companies have made investors a lot of money.

Investor Ryan Bethencourt, who admits his portfolio hasn't always been as green as it is now, says it's easy to take steps to make investments better for the environment.

"If you find you're really heavy in, like, Philip Morrises, a bunch of gas companies, things that don't align with you – if you're the one that's investing and you're backing all these things that just do not resonate with you – then start re-balancing," he said.

Re-balancing, as in selling companies that pollute, and buying green-related stock funds is so hot these days, Silicon Valley venture capital funds are getting into the act.

"We invest in businesses that are good for the world, but also good for business," Deena Shakir of Lux Capital said.

Venture capitalists have put money into Bay Area-based companies like Zoox, to encourage clean autonomous cars, and Saildrone – autonomous sailboats that do oceanic research.

They're not just going green, they're making green.

"Not just the impact in terms of the positive effects on our environment or because it's good for the world, but that these companies create real value," Shakir said.

Bethencourt followed his passion to start Wild Earth, a Berkeley-based company making sustainable dog food.

Shakir said she sees hope when she talks to young investors who want to use their money to make a difference.

"The way that they have sort of grown up in an era where climate change is real," she said.

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