Knowledge

World Earth Day: Invest In Our Planet™

World Earth Day: Invest In Our Planet™

World Earth Day is a call to action for millions of people around the world to do something about the climate, to Invest In Our Planet. This is the theme for this year’s Earth Day and it could not come sooner, as investors around the world seek out new ways to invest with more of an impact on our environment.

The Great Global Clean Up

One of its initiatives is the Great Global Clean Up. This is a worldwide campaign to reduce waste in an effort to improve habitats, both human and animal.

There is a pressing need to manage waste more effectively. Old solutions for exporting waste to poorer countries or simply dumping it into landfill sites will no longer work. Communities and governments need to be more imaginative.

Prestige Funds have for many years worked closely with our UK based lending partner, Privilege Finance, to fund workable energy and waste management solutions. Privilege Finance funds climate friendly energy solutions which reduce carbon and mitigate against climate change.

We have been a funder of waste to energy solutions in the UK for more than 10 years, helping to finance successful anaerobic digestion (AD) plants which produce the natural gas, biomethane, that does not release additional carbon into the atmosphere. Importantly, AD turns organic waste into biomethane and can help to process the 10.2 million tonnes of consumer waste we throw away in the UK every year[1].

Food waste that is committed to landfills generates methane, which is a potent, planet-harming greenhouse gas. For most developed countries, food waste remains the second largest category of municipal solid waste sent to landfills, and accounts for 18% of the waste stream.[2]

Food waste is highly biodegradable and has a much higher volatile solids destruction rate (86-90%) than biosolids. Food waste has up to three times as much energy potential as bio-solids.

Cattle manure                  25 sqm gas/ton

Biosolids                             120 sqm gas/ton

Food waste                        376 sqm gas/ton

(Source: East Bay Municipal Utility District study, cited by US EPA)

Regenerative agriculture

Another major theme of World Earth Day this year is regenerative agriculture. Over-farming around the world means that soil capacity is dramatically declining. Large scale farming means that soil quality may only currently have the capacity to support another 60 harvests or so.

Again, project finance in the UK – and other countries – can play a big role in helping farms to become more self-supportive. In the case of farms with their own AD plants, food waste can – apart from generating clean energy and natural gas – also yield digestate which can be used to fertilize croplands in a more sustainable fashion.

Regenerative agriculture can help counter climate change by promoting both food security and restoring the soil we rely on.

Both solid and liquid digestates (the material remaining after the AD process breaks down food waste) generated by our plants can play a significant role in bolstering soil quality. They can help to reduce the farmers spend on commercial fertilizers, are a more readily available source of nitrogen, increase soil moisture (and water capacity) and improve drainage. It is an excellent alternative to bagged fertilizers and also has a lower carbon footprint.

World Earth Day is focusing on some very important issues for investors and wider society to take more notice of. More information is available at – Earth Day 2022 | Invest in Our Planet™

[1] The Importance of Renewable Energy in the UK – Privilege Finance

[2] US Environmental Protection Agency