Real people powering a clean energy future
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Manager of Environment and Climate Change, Calvert Asset Management
Investor, Bethesda, Maryland
In 2007, $71 billion was invested in new renewable energy capacity worldwide, a more than 75 percent increase over 2005 levels. The majority of the new investment is being driven by record growth in the wind and solar industries. The United States ranked just 3rd in national investment, trailing both Germany and China.
When Lily Donge makes investment decisions she takes a unique approach to maximizing financial returns. Donge knows that environmental issues directly affect finance, so these concerns are a priority in her investment strategy.
"Everyone has a role. My role is to leverage finance to where we think is best for a long term sustainable world," she said.
Donge began her career on track to work in corporate equities but soon realized the work was not meaningful for her. That's when she worked for the World Resources Institute, which marries issues of finance and natural resources—a fit Donge says was perfect for her. Today, she is manager of environment and climate change at Bethesda, Maryland’s Calvert Asset Management Company—an investment firm that examines the social and environmental records of companies to determine which companies to include or exclude in investment portfolios.
"We believe there is a duty to consider the long-term risks posed by climate change. It’s more than being environmentally conscious. We take this duty seriously."
Nearly one out of every nine dollars invested in the United States today is involved in socially and environmentally responsible investing, according to a report by the non-profit Social Investment Forum.
In addition to making environmental decisions on where to invest, Donge also acts as an advocate to educate policymakers, companies and the public about the role investors and business owners can play in creating a vibrant clean energy industry. Donge has testified on climate change and clean energy for the Maryland Global Warming Solutions Act, initiatives she said "would be as important to the economy as they are to the environment."
"Finance is the lubricant of the economy, so to provide that ease into moving into a new energy economy—finance is indispensable," said Donge, explaining that investment goes where there are strong regulations. "Investors have a role to play in tying renewable energy to market competitiveness and also communicating the importance of this transformation. I think we have role in communicating the urgency, the need and the financial rewards of renewable energy."