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Unearthing investment for the green economy

The green economy refers to an economic system that aims to foster sustainability and reduce environmental impact while promoting economic growth and development. It encompasses various sectors and practices that prioritise resource efficiency, renewable energy sources, conservation of natural resources, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

From sustainable agriculture and biodiversity to waste management and green finance, the green economy seeks to achieve a balance between economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity, ensuring that future generations can meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

While many of these areas continue to climb the mainstream agenda, we’re currently turning our attention to the innovators who are adopting waste reduction, recycling, and waste-to-energy strategies that minimise landfill. Investing in such projects and initiatives undoubtedly has numerous positive environmental impacts; and presents the potential for very strong returns for investors.

Landfill is a serious problem for the environment.

The world keeps generating more and more rubbish. According to a report conducted by the World Bank, the planet produced 2.01 billion tons of waste in 2016 — a figure that could rocket to 3.4 billion by 2050, representing an almost 70% increase in rubbish in just 30 years. We live in a throw-away society and we’re paying the price because we don’t know what to do with all our waste.

The report conducted by ISWA (International Solid Waste Association), one of the world’s leading organisations in the solid waste treatment sector, A Roadmap for Closing Waste Dumpsites, determined that landfill sites currently contain approximately 40% of the world’s waste and that the 50 largest landfill sites impact the daily lives of 64 million people — equivalent to the entire population of France.

Landfill sites are partially responsible for global warming as they generate and release biogas into the atmosphere. Biogas is a mixture formed primarily of methane gas (CH₄) and carbon dioxide (CO₂), two of the gases that cause climate change and an increase in the planet’s temperature. According to the ISWA report, if the current situation continues and we do not take action, landfill sites will account for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

In addition to the well-documented environmental challenges of landfills, numerous public health concerns have also been raised. As well as the obvious noise and odour, individuals living near landfills can suffer from prolonged or chronic exposure to the emission of methane, as well as volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants. This can lead to headaches, nausea, respiratory issues, and the exacerbation of existing respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis, as well as an increased risk of respiratory infections.

Long-term exposure to certain landfill pollutants, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and heavy metals, has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma, and various solid tumours.

Depending on the design and waste composition, leachate, which contains various pollutants including heavy metals, organic compounds, and pathogens, risks contaminating groundwater and surface water. Not only does this pose a risk to human health through drinking water consumption, but it can also affect ecosystems, wildlife and agriculture.

Aside from the abhorrent environmental and health issues, property prices are reduced in areas surrounding landfills, which further perpetuates the devaluation of disadvantaged areas.

But there is a solution.

Waste carbonisation business, GreenMine, has secured validation for its ground-breaking equipment and technology to be used at its first UK energy-from-waste plant. In commercialising this zero-carbon, zero-emissions process, a very real solution to landfill is just on the horizon. 

Its innovative technology for the carbonisation of municipal solid waste is set to revolutionise the waste industry by enabling the mining, cleaning and repurposing of landfill sites for positive re-development.

But why, in the developed world are we still grappling with the environmental and health challenges associated with poorly managed landfill sites when appropriate solutions are available?

One word. Investment.

Effective waste carbonisation technology is available now, and presents a tangible opportunity for investors and environmental managers alike.

Scientists tell us that to preserve a liveable planet we must reduce the amount of CO₂ in the atmosphere from its current level of 410 parts per million to 350 PPM or below.

That’s why we are on a mission to identify and assist the most promising environmental companies – incubating and accelerating their development to meet the needs of the carbon reduction agenda.

As an integral member of the “green economy”, we must work collaboratively to raise awareness of the inherent benefits of investing in green infrastructure for long-term prosperity.

The green economy drives innovation in clean technologies, renewable energy sources, energy storage solutions, and sustainable materials, fostering technological advancement, job creation and economic growth, as well as climate resilience.

According to the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) the green economy is growing rapidly and accounted for around 9.2% of global listed equity markets in the first half of 2023. It has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 13.3% throughout the past ten years – significantly outpacing the 6.9% for global equity markets as a whole.

And this is likely just the start. Trillions more dollars of investment are required to flow into the green economy to meet global climate and environmental objectives. If this happens, by some calculations, around 20% of revenues earned by listed companies would be ‘green’ by 2050 – and the green economy would become the single largest industrial sector.

Leading the transition to a green economy will undoubtedly enhance our country’s international competitiveness by positioning us as a leader in clean technologies, sustainable practices, and environmental stewardship, attracting investment and fostering global partnerships.

Investing in the green economy offers not only the potential for significant financial returns but also the opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy, aligning with long-term sustainability goals and creating value for stakeholders.

350PPM is currently raising investment funds for expansion. If you’d further information on the companies we’re incubating, please register your interest here.

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