ECOnscious is a small, Lisbon based non-profit, which helps companies gain an overview of greener investment partners, helping them to make their operations that one little bit more future proof.

By now you probably have noticed our world is changing. Rapidly. The threats presented like climate change, once thought to only affect our children and grandchildren, have already shaped up to cause significant harm to our planet within our lifetimes. This is verified by an increase not only in temperatures or the corresponding food insecurity across the globe, but also in the ever growing frequency in which natural disasters occur. 

Portugal, just like many other countries in the Atlantic region, has increasingly borne the brunt of those same disasters: in 2022 alone, forest fires devastated 74,000 acres of land, largely because of a preceding heat wave, likely a result of climate change.

This is not coming out of nowhere. The ongoing climate crisis is fueled and exasperated both by the choices (or lack thereof) taken by small, everyday consumers and large, solely revenue-oriented corporations; as well as, of course, everyone in between.

Transportation: an example of so much to do

Take, for example, the transportation sector, which according to an EU report was by far Portugal’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for 26% of the country’s total emissions. 

And while Portugal’s emissions-to-GDP ratio (also known as a carbon intensity rating) has been falling, its growing reliance on transportation sectors like the maritime industry have left it lacking behind the general European trend.

Yet it is not only actively, like through using or even abusing their resources, that corporations can add fuel to the fire of climate change: a huge part of carbon emissions that companies are responsible for, sometimes even a majority, come from the way they use their assets. Companies that choose to invest via banks that do not take sustainability into account cause a significantly larger carbon footprint than those that do not.

This comes for a variety of reasons: for example, funds are focussed on conforming to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, so-called ESG funds, have a reputation for being less profitable and therefore (at least on surface level) not as wise of an investment as traditional, solely revenue-oriented funds or assets. Yet this notion is wildly inaccurate.

While according to a survey conducted by, a vast majority of market participants expect ESG funds to either “slightly underperform” or even “significantly underperform”, reality paints a different picture: according to Morningstar, about 56% of US sustainable funds beat rival category groups in a three-year period from 2020 to 2022, with those classed as sustainability leaders by the outlet vastly outperforming the market average. So, after all, sustainable funds remain competitive.

But why, then, do businesses still invest in “non-green” funds, despite the catastrophic long-term implications that this mode of operations carries? The answer has to be that, in addition to the misplaced perceptions regarding ESG- and similar funds, many businesses are simply not aware of the carbon footprint their modes of investing and choice of partner can and often do cause.

Changing this would not only greatly drive customer traffic, as the mentioning of “green business practices” in advertising has been chosen to increase brand reputation and subsequently also revenues, it would also help to move the world economy to a more sustainable place, ensuring its and humanities existence for generations.

The new non-profit ECOnscious is ready to help find the right partner to pursue the sustainability goals of any organization. You can find out more about the project here.

*Article co-written with Konrad Hallashcka

Photo by Vardan Papikyan

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