A lowly ranking may be a handicap in attracting ESG money – not least as environmental degradation can ultimately lower a country’s potential growth rate. But these countries can still offer some surprising opportunities for ESG investors.
Take China, ranked 118th on the EPI (out of 178 countries). We all know the air quality issues that plague the country’s cities. But how many of us also realise that China leads the way in solar power?
Last year China installed 50 gigawatts (GW) of new solar capacity – more than half the 95GW of new capacity installed worldwide. That was more than three times the volume of two years earlier.
The country ranks as the world’s top job creator in renewable energy. It produces two-thirds of the world’s solar panels and half of the world’s wind turbines. It already boasts the largest market for electric cars.
India, ranked 155th on the EPI, is at an earlier, but equally impressive, stage of solar power expansion. Solar generation capacity has risen eightfold since 2014 and the country has jumped to seventh in the solar power rankings worldwide.
Last year it unveiled what at the time was the world’s largest solar farm as part of a 5GW increase in capacity. It wants to reach 100GW of generating capacity from solar by 2022, up from the current 20GW.
There are also plans for all 12 of India’s government-owned ports to be powered by solar and wind energy with the next few years – something that would rank as a world first.