Photo illustration by John Lyman



Should Climate Change Make You Think about Where to Invest in Big Tech?

Big Tech companies have created a major footprint on our economy, politics, and culture. Their actions have the power to positively or negatively impact our environment. For the past decade, companies have become more and more aware of the importance of climate change and have already begun showcasing their action plans to both investors and customers. These powerhouses of the world possess the resources to make a real change to combat the effects of climate change.

In recent years, climate scientists have stated that if we are to stand a chance against climate change, global emissions must be cut in half by 2030. Meanwhile, Big Tech companies are working towards meeting these climate targets.

As we start witnessing the change in our climate, it has become increasingly clear that tackling climate change requires a lot more than creating global policies. Stakeholders in Big Tech recognize the urgency to take a new approach when it comes to our environment. When it comes to investing our money, it is crucial that we know exactly who we are giving it to and how they’ll be using it. When considering the corporations in which we invest we should think about whether we share long-term climate change ideas and see whether they demonstrate an action plan with which we agree. Some aim to invest their money into companies that are currently taking big steps to limit the physical and economic damage from climate change.

With a combined effort from tech giants to combat issues in sustainability and the environment, comes numerous opportunities for economic growth, offering investors significant financial returns and creating a spike in low-emission market growth, as well as the climate tech market. It is important that investors don’t fall for “greenwashing” traps; a term coined to describe organizations that communicate false information to the public, to portray themselves as environmentally friendly. This is more common for smaller companies that are able to avoid too much digging into their operations, less so for Big Tech firms that are constantly being scrutinized by the public and governments. Extensive research is vital to ensure we are investing in companies that have already set their plans into motion.

Business models vary from each company along with their energy and emissions profiles, some are digital, while many still have carbon-intensive manufacturing supply chains that completely negate their climate goals. For those who find these elements important to their portfolio, it is important to find companies that are transparent about their sustainability goals.

With their primary focus being digital technologies that could significantly mitigate carbon emissions, many firms are leaders in the race against climate change. Companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google are transparent about their environmental agendas. Jeff Bezos, the former CEO of Amazon, pledged $10 billion in the fight against climate change and stated that Amazon will achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. Following behind, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft are aiming to do the same by 2030. Joining the race, Google announced its climate plan to completely power its operations using carbon-neutral energy sources.

Critics may argue that major players in the world of Big Tech are investing in addressing climate issues that are impacted by their own operations. Although reversing their own damage is a step in the right direction, this is potentially only a small part of their climate goals. Should these companies, who have the most resources to make an impact, be advocating for strong climate policies and rerouting their own technological developments? Another consideration for your portfolio.

Many companies demonstrate impactful action plans, making them environmentally conscious and socially responsible. Big Tech firms introduce renewable energy methods and sustainable practices into the tech industry. They are transparent about their environmental action plans by sharing statistics, latest commitments, and financial metrics which justify their contributions. Meanwhile, they contribute 2-3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions around the world. When making an investment into Big Tech, we should consider a firm’s commitment to carbon neutrality and whether they advocate for climate-friendly policies.

We depend on digital innovations for just about everything. When investing in a Big Tech company that prioritizes its climate goals, it can cause a chain reaction addressing the most prevalent environmental issues. As investors, it is important to prioritize the companies that most align with our values, whether that be business goals, a personal connection, or ethical standpoints. The better the synergy between investor and corporation, the better the benefit to both parties.