Sustainable Alpha: Ron Pernick

Ron Pernick, Cofounder and Managing Director, Clean Edge Inc.

Ron Pernick, Clean Edge

Sustainable Alpha features shared conversations with the best minds, portfolio managers and industry leaders working to maximize returns while prioritizing the environment, social and governance factors — what’s become short-handed in the industry as ESG. Sustainable Alpha will highlight portfolio approaches and investment trends against the backdrop of broader themes such as resource constraints, policy changes and demographic shifts — all while shedding light on how ESG can impact your investments.

Sustainable Alpha conversations are led by John Wrenn, Senior VP, Investments for UBS. The Wrenn Ferguson Group has a combined experience of 200 years managing over 1.6 billion in assets, offering customized wealth management strategies for individuals, endowments and foundations. View the rest of his conversations with leaders in the sustainable investment community.


John Wrenn: How are governments playing a role in the sustainable investment market?

Ron Pernick: For Clean Edge’s clean-tech focus, governments play a critical role. We like to say that no energy industry on the planet is subsidy or regulatory free. Just think about it. In the U.S., utilities are regulated monopolies and the oil, gas, and nuclear industries all still rely heavily on governmental regulations and supports. As governments shift their focus from carbon-intensive polluting fossil fuels to low- and zero-carbon emitting clean-energy sources, markets are being dramatically impacted. A great example is evident in what is playing out in China right now. Five years ago the clean-tech market was nearly non-existent there. But last year China installed more wind power than any other nation and is now the world’s largest manufacturer of solar PV. This shift was a direct result of government policy and programs, just as we’ve witnessed in places like Germany, Japan, and Denmark in the past.

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Ron Pernick is cofounder and managing director of Portland-based clean-tech research and advisory firm Clean Edge, Inc. He is also the coauthor of The Clean Tech Revolution.

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