Features & Opinion

Bioenergy From Weed Infestations - Submission to the ARENA Bioenergy Roadmap
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency's Bioenergy Roadmap. My main suggestion is to explore the idea of utilizing Australia's many major weed infestations as feedstock for bioenergy. More

Electrify Everything and Save on Energy Costs
The best way to lower your total energy costs and your carbon emissions is to electrify everything and get off the petrol and gas grids. But it takes capital, so most people have to do it slowly. It took me six years. More

An Electric Car Without Price or Range Anxiety
The best way to lower your energy costs and your carbon emissions is to electrify everything and get off the petrol and gas grids. But it takes capital, so most people have to do it slowly. It took me six years. More

Submission to the Inquiry into Australia's Waste Management and Recycling Industries
Dear Committee Secretary, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on Australia's management and recycling of waste and plastics. I wish to focus on the opportunities presented by waste plastics and in particular innovative recycling approaches. The huge amount of plastics waste that is not recycled is clearly an opportunity to develop new products and expand businesses, and perhaps also enhance regional employment and development. My key suggestion is... More

An Open Letter to the Labor Party
Dear Mr Albanese, I am a long time swinging voter and am writing to discuss how I believe the Labor Party should redesign its policies on negative gearing and franking credits. These policies were much discussed during the recent Federal election and the failure of the Labor Party to win the election has put back much needed reform in these areas, possibly for considerable time. It is therefore crucial that the updates to the Labor Party's policies are formulated to maximize public acceptance while achieving the best outcomes for the Budget and for equity. More

Creating and Managing a Capital Account
I have been a self-managed retail investor for over 30 years so I am a little embarrassed to say that I have finally worked out a way to document every transaction in a capital account in a similar way that my bank statement tells me every transaction in my savings account. More

My Long Switch to Solar
After many years of planning, I finally flicked the switch and installed a roof top solar energy system. It's a 4.55 kilowatt system and so far it's working well and producing enough energy so that there are numerous times during the day when it makes more energy than we use and we contribute renewable energy to the grid. More

Time to Take Profits
At the moment there is a lot of immediate past for investors to get their heads around. The part that concerns many, including me, is the big rise in the US stock market. No one can answer the key questions of how long the boom will last, and whether there will be a big bust or just a downturn. But experience tells me it is time for investors to have or to get a strategy for what is happening and what may happen. More

Renewable Energy and Environmentally Positive Investments on the ASX
This is an edited text of a talk given at Ethical Investment Week in Brisbane on 10 October, 2017. "Let's have a closer look at the renewable energy sector on the ASX. There are 56 companies which have some sort of clean energy angle to their business, including those for which it is not the main game." More

Cleantech Stocks Build Momentum
The global momentum behind renewables is unstoppable. Investors who want to look more deeply into how clean energy is growing, and growing its share of the global energy market, can find a wealth of information from some of the world's leading sources. More

Novel Aquaculture Feedstocks Address Protein Issue
The good news for aquaculture investors is that Australia is one of only a few developed countries that is perfectly suited for aquaculture, and novel alternatives using bacteria and insects have begun to appear to replace contentious animal proteins in fish food, said a visiting global aquaculture expert. More

Investing in Solar is Becoming Easier
Although the installation of residential solar energy systems has been strong around Australia for several years and the numbers of commercial solar projects and utility scale solar farms are now also growing, until now investors have not had access to these as the growth was not reflected on the ASX. While there is still a lack of exposure to the residential installation market, new options have emerged for commercial scale and utility scale projects. More

After a Big Share Price Fall
A share price can have a sudden big fall when a company announces some bad news or there is bad news in its industry, in the market, or more widely. In the past when I have thought that the news did not affect the company's value I have often bought in, only to find I have bought in too soon and the share price kept falling. Catching the proverbial falling knife too often is not good enough. To become a better investor, I need to get better at understanding these falls and to get better at timing my buys. More

Cleaning China's Water
China has a lot of dirty water, says the chairman of Phoslock Water Solutions, Laurence Freedman. And there is a lot of pressure to clean it, said Zhang Zhigang, the general manager of Beijing BHZQ Environmental Engineering Technology Company (BHZQ). BHZQ is Phoslock's new Chinese partner in cleaning some of this water. More

Cobalt and the Battery Boom
The unfolding energy storage boom is a long way from slowing down and has grown from lithium to other battery metals such as cobalt. The demand for cobalt is projected to grow strongly for years to come and prices for the metal have more than doubled in the last two years - from US$10 to US$25 per pound or about US$55,000 per tonne, and are now at an eight year high. More

Trends in Cleantech, and Companies that Look Interesting
Thank you for the opportunity to talk about Trends in Cleantech, and Some Companies that Look Interesting. The first thing I want to do is take the long view. And on the long view I'm very positive that most trends are heading in the right direction and cleantech has a great future, including for investors. More

Keep Venture Capital Open to Retail Investors
- Submission to ASX: Updating ASX's Admission Requirements for Listed Entities.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the ASX's proposed changes to its admission requirements. My comments and suggestions relate to the issues of: the spread test, the assets test, and the $1.5 million minimum requirement for working capital. More

Why Cleantech Stocks are Performing Again
People may think that John D. Rockefeller became the richest man in the world by investing in oil, but he wasn't just investing in oil, he was investing in the future. At the time the world was running out of whale oil and Rockefeller saw that the future was in the new oil. The President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stephen Heintz, told this story to the DivestInvest Conference in Sydney last month and said he is convinced that if Rockefeller were alive today, "he would be doing the same thing in the clean energy economy because he knows that's the future." More

Thank You and Goodbye Gas Grid
Our family is now off the gas grid. In March we installed an induction cooktop to replace our gas cooktop, which had been our last gas appliance. Everything in our house now runs off electricity including the oven, the solar hot water booster, the lawnmower and the barbeque. More

Finding Ethical Stock Market Stars
Rising Star Research is a new service looking to uncover rising stock market stars of the future. It produces independent and quality business analysis reports for investors with a focus on ethical micro cap companies below $250 million in market capitalization. The founder and principal, Simon Turner, says this is an area where the investor information challenge is most extreme. More

Stories from Your Future: The Environment in 2100
Predicting the future is an old game that no one is good at, so one of the best parts is all the great expressions that have sprung up to explain this. Some of the classics are: "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." "The future isn't what it used to be!" "An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today." "I have seen the future and it is very much like the present, only longer." More

Will PM Turnbull be Good for Cleantech Confidence?
Not just environmental investors but most of Australia breathed a huge sigh of relief when prime minister Tony Abbott departed the job, but will prime minister Malcolm Turnbull be better for the environment, for environmental investors and for environmental innovators? Can Turnbull give back to cleantech the mojo it had under John Howard and Kevin Rudd? More

Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
A less well known and under-researched aspect of the chemicals in the environment issue is pharmaceuticals and drugs in the environment, yet the problem is growing, especially in larger cities. In July the ABC reported that significant levels of strong painkillers and anti-depressants were found in tests on water samples from 30 sites around stormwater outlets in Sydney Harbour and the entire estuary. More

Many Sectors Worse Off Than Cleantech
For several years environmental investors have been smarting over the Government's sabotage of the cleantech sector, but government risk is only one of many risks faced by investors and the cleantech sector is far from alone in having big problems. Even sectors with strong government support are facing huge issues and their investors have lost billions and may lose more. More

Labor Rejoins World's Clean Energy Leadership
The Labor Party's adoption of a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 is a big positive that will lift the confidence of investors now and boost it hugely next year if Labor wins the election. While a scare campaign from the Abbott Government and its fossil fuel allies in the Murdoch media began almost immediately, the world picture suggests the winner in this debate will be Labor. More

Investing in Home Energy Efficiency
Over the past two years I've put in several big and fairly costly energy efficiency measures into our home and I'm now in a position to start evaluating how well they have worked and if they were good investments. How well they have worked is clear - our family's annual gas usage has fallen a massive 94 per cent. More

The Pope Supports Environmentally Positive Investments
The Pope has shown himself to be a strong supporter of ethical and environmentally positive investment principles as a way of solving the world's many environmental problems and making humanity's place and role on the Earth sustainable. More

Video: Interview with Damien Lynch, managing director of August Investments

Eco Investor editor Victor Bivell interviews Damien Lynch, Australia's most experienced environmental investor and the founder and managing director of August Investments, about environmental investment in Australia.

Manufactured Homes and Sustainable Housing
Achieving more sustainable housing is an important environmental ambition as it reduces both the amount of unsustainable materials needed and the carbon footprint of the buildings. It can also have a big impact on both as housing is a huge part of every economy around the world. More

Huge Report on Sustainability of Bioenergy
A massive 779 page report on Bioenergy & Sustainability: Bridging the Gaps has been published by the SCOPE Bioenergy & Sustainability project in Brazil. It contains contributions from 137 researchers from 82 institutions in 24 countries. More

Ethical Financial Advisers Near $1 Billion
Australia's ethical financial advisers now manage $910 million for clients and are closing in on the $1 billion mark with their ethically screened funds under management growing by 18 per cent last year. The Ethical Advisers' Co-operative comprises 17 advisers from 11 firms across every state. The Co-op's advisers help their clients to make financial decisions and match their ethical values with financial investments. More

Managing Tax Breaks for the Rich
The aim of the Federal Government's Re:think Tax Discussion Paper is to encourage public debate and feedback about how to simplify the tax system so everyone pays their fair share of tax and the government can afford to provide the services that people want. The report deals with huge amounts of money that will affect the financial well being of the country and millions of investors. So here are my simple contributions to help bring tax breaks for the rich down from the stratosphere and closer to Earth. More

The Power of Ethical Consumers
One of the most interesting articles I read over the summer holidays was a piece by Sally Young in Fairfax Media about how a group of young Sicilians have been able to do what "police, the courts and politicians have been largely unable to do for over a century – stop the Mafia". They did it by starting a campaign called... More

Changes at Eco Investor
With this edition, Eco Investor is changing its editorial focus to concentrate on Australian environmental equities. This includes core, pre-dividend, pre-profit, pre-revenue and unlisted securities. There are two reasons for the change. More

The Food Future is Feed Efficient Aquaculture
Sustainable food has the potential to become as big a share market theme as clean energy and an important part of that is aquaculture, as seafood is the most consumed animal protein in the world. It surpasses other meats including poultry, pork and beef and consumption is expected to continue to surge over the next 10 years. More

Australia Can’t Afford Ideology as Industry Policy
In his introduction to the Coalition Government’s industry policy, the prime minister Tony Abbott says “The guiding principle of the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda is to focus on Australia’s strengths, not to prop up poor performers.” But the policy does the opposite. Rather than focus on Australia’s competitive advantages, it is about old-fashioned picking winners. More

Secretary of State Supports Sustainable Food
The sustainable seafood sector has been receiving strong support from what for some may be an unexpectedly high power quarter - US Secretary of State and former US presidential candidate, John Kerry. On numerous occasions between helping to solve the world’s most pressing political and military issues, Mr Kerry has found time to lend his support and increase awareness about protecting the oceans and the need for sustainable seafood. More

Ethically Screened Funds Beat Their Indices
Two Screened Index Models run by ethical investment adviser Ethinvest are performing well. The Ethinvest ASX50 Screened Index Model returned 20.39 per cent for the past year and 17.43 per cent since inception, beating the S&P/ASX 50 Accumulation Index by 3.1 per cent and 4.98 per cent respectively. More

Triple Bypass for Fossil Fuels
Given our climate, everyone in Australia who can afford it should have a solar hot water system. And finally I got around to getting one. So this editorial is about property improvement and comparing investing in your property to investing in shares. It's also about my triple goal of bypassing coal, gas and oil. More

LEDs Can Slash Your Total Lighting Wattage
LED lighting has arrived and it can slash the power needed to light your property. In my case, I’ve just reduced the total lighting wattage for our home by two thirds - from 3,144 Watts to 1,033 Watts. The reduction in the high use areas such as kitchen, dining, lounge and bedrooms is even more dramatic - from 2,825 Watts to 735 Watts or 74 per cent. More

Is Gas Still a Transition Fuel?
As we move from fossil fuels to renewables, the phrase ‘gas as a transition fuel' has a strong attraction for many people and interest groups. But the phrase also oversimplifies a range of business and environmental issues that can be complex and have little in common with each other. While gas can assist the transition to clean energy, it can also entrench itself, slow the transition process, and compete with clean energy. So it is worth taking a closer look at where gas does and does not assist the transition process. More

Earn Income from Top Clean-techs
The 80 or so cleantech stocks on the ASX can be divided into two neat sections. It is generally known than the speculative end of the sector is fraught with high risk and suits only professional investors and punters. But it is less well known that the top end of about 17 stocks can offer stable income and that some of the dividends are fully franked. More

Diary of an Eco Investor 1 - Unbanking Coal
The Benefits of Buying Green Shares
How the Rich Impact Invest
Is Cleantech Innovation Meeting Cleantech Capital?
International Geothermal Energy Powers On
Producing Eco Friendly Bioenergy
Playing With Dangerous Energies
When Success is Not Success

Time to Back the Technology Punter
Is Australia's venture capital industry on life support? It sure looks that way with the Federal Government pumping $64 million into 11 of its leading venture capital fund managers who in turn are investing it in 35 of their most promising early stage technology companies. More

Climate Change Opportunities
The True Cost Of Coal
Population Growth Is Good For Innovation
Best Culture Should Run Forestry
Geothermals Have Global Ambitions
Fossil Fuels Distort Energy Costs
Good News For Green Innovation
Timing Will Always Be Important
Australia Has An Obligation To Lead
Electric Cars an Opportunity for Feed in Tariff System
What Is Environmental Investment?
Environmental Investment Strategies and Portfolio Construction
Key Characteristics of Environmental Investmen
Solar Sector Could be Brighter
Biodiesel Boom a Disaster for Investors
Sustainable Returns Are Higher Returns
Pick Your Environmental Sectors
How Green Are The Ethical Funds?
How Big Is The Environment?
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