David Suntin of Trending Today
Currently, Wall Street sits in the middle of consumer unrest as more people gather to protest banks and their opposition to financial investment and protection-based solutions. But herein lies an opportunity for Green Banks to flourish, or perhaps give traditional financial institutions a reason to foster fresh and innovative solutions to some of today’s most pressing issues, including security, unemployment and climate change. Green Banks are traditionally defined as publicly owned banks intended to open credit markets and drive business to invest in clean technology.
It’s true that clean technology solutions are what drive climate change, all the while tackling things like pollution, job creation, and the promotion of American innovation. Likewise, they improve energy autonomy. Alternative energy solutions like that of biofuels, geothermal heat and electricity are at the core of 21st century sustainability efforts. In fact, most Green Banks flourish in this area – Their loan officers are trained in areas that are designed to support energy efficiency solutions. Of course, traditional banks should be wary of this as well. As we move farther into the 21st century, we can only imagine a world without green initiatives.
In fact, world-renown financial experts like Dan Zwirn and Darrel West have written about the impact of Green Banks for quite some time. In a piece entitled “Rebuilding America: The Role of Foreign Capital and Global Public Investors,” Zwirn and West mention that if we were to inject funds from multiple foreign investors into green banks, we’d be helping multiple organizations fund green initiatives and incorporate energy efficient facilities. The piece goes on to say that environmental policy makers are pushing for investors to consider clean tech investment, as it would only create more long-term viability.
In one particular study by the McKinsey Institute, they mention that the US could cut energy use by ¼ if we were to ideally tackle every issue on the alt energy front.
But in the end, funds are our main stumbling block. There has to be a way in which we can close the climate-investment gap. In most cases, green banks supply loan money up front, and although much of the return is guaranteed, they simply don’t have the cash to distribute to multiple borrowers. Ideally, if we followed a model that was consistent with what Zwirn and West were saying, we’d require green banks to be protected by the US government. In turn, this would make them attractive to foreign investment, which would then supply the money used for clean tech investment.
So it’s clear that there are proposed solutions for supporting the rebuild of the American Economy, especially in such a transition phase. “Green” has been around for a while, and it’s time to start recognizing that it’s not going anywhere. If we can succumb to the idea of green investment, we’re golden.