Financial History 142 Summer 2022 - Page 24

Ethan Brown , founder and CEO of Beyond Meat Inc . ( left ), and John Salley , a former professional basketball player with the LA Lakers , pictured at Beyond Meat ’ s IPO at the Nasdaq MarketSite on May 2 , 2019 . Beyond Meat ’ s successful IPO at $ 25 a share , the top end of its increased range , showed appetite for innovation in the packaged-food industry .
A key segment of today ’ s youth is creating change in a different way , through their investments . Younger Americans are forecast to receive the greatest wealth transfer in history , an estimated $ 30 trillion , as the Baby Boomer generation passes on . Research finds that 86 % of them are interested in sustainable investing , a rapid and dramatic change in social norms among an entire generation of investors .
Evolving social norms are also changing the behavior of businesses , with companies across America pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions . Amazon has committed to net-zero carbon , as have dozens of other leading companies including Apple , Ford and Starbucks . Microsoft has gone one step further and committed to remove all the carbon the company has emitted since its founding . Companies are taking action because it improves their competitive positioning .
Evolving social norms are changing individual and corporate behavior with respect to climate change . They are also forcing governments at the federal , state and local levels to respond .
Trend No . 4 : Government Action
Greater awareness of the physical impacts of a changing climate , alongside evolving social norms , are at long last influencing voters to pressure governments to act . While international climate change agreements have failed to stem the rise of greenhouse gases , national and local governments have implemented a wide range of initiatives aimed at doing so . More than 100 countries have voluntarily set or are considering net-zero emissions targets , including the United States .
Many state and local governments are ahead of the federal government in pushing for aggressive regulations and incentives . New York State , for example , has pledged to eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century , with incentives for renewable energy enticing developers to construct the largest offshore wind projects in the country . California ’ s plan is for 100 % clean energy by 2045 , along with 14 other states that have passed legislation or executive action to move toward entirely clean electricity . Thirty states have created renewable portfolio standards , including Texas , Iowa , Montana and many other states with Republican legislatures , and state initiatives are responsible for half of the growth in renewable energy generation .
Politicians have learned that even modest policies go a long way , encouraging businesses to act and demonstrating to investors that emissions can be reduced , often at low cost . Even better , businesses
22 FINANCIAL HISTORY | Summer 2022 | www . MoAF . org