Evergreen portfolio

Renewable energy

Creating fossil fuel alternatives that cause less pollution and that we can create more of

Carbon reduction

6% of fund spend

We all know by now that fossil fuels emit lots of carbon dioxide when used and that there’s a finite amount of it buried underground. Someday we’ll run out, if we don’t ruin our planet first.

There’s no way around it: we need energy for all the things we need and want to do, like travel, heat our homes, and build. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have relied heavily on non-renewable energy to fuel our progress.

Thankfully, people, businesses, and governments are increasingly switching to renewable energy sources—energy that can naturally be replaced on a human timescale. In 2018, renewables made up more than 26% of global electricity generation, and that’s expected to rise to 45% by 2040.Footnote 1

Renewable energy sources can be divided into five categories:

Wind

Some complain that wind turbines are ugly and noisy, but wind is too valuable of a resource to ignore. Prices are declining, and capacity around the world grew 22x between 2001 to 2017.Footnote 2

Solar

You’ve likely seen solar panels on houses or driven by a massive field full of them. Those panels convert the sun’s light into electricity, and this industry is growing at twice the rate of wind energy.

Geothermal

The inside of our planet is hot. Geothermal heat taps into this, using large underground reservoirs to trap steam and hot water, or smaller heat pumps to heat and cool houses. This type of energy is always available, unlike wind and solar.

Biomass

Biomass is organic material that comes from plants and animals, like wood, food, or manure. Thermally-processed biomass can create electricity, biogas, or biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Read more about our investments in biomass.

Hydropower

Hydropower harnesses the energy of water currents with dams that control water flow. This is the world’s most popular form of renewable energy, but there are negatives here too. Building and maintaining dams can cause a lot of environmental damage. Ideally, increased investment in wind, solar, and geothermal energy will reduce our global reliance on hydropower as an alternative to fossil fuels.

In 2018, renewables made up more than 26% of global electricity generation, and that’s expected to rise to 45% by 2040

Company spotlight

Bullfrog Power

Bullfrog offers natural gas and electricity options for people and businesses looking to lower the carbon intensity of their energy usage. For every unit of natural gas a customer uses, Bullfrog produces the same amount of “climate-friendly” natural gas and puts it into a pipeline on the customer’s behalf. Bullfrog captures biogas from organic waste at landfills and wastewater treatment plants.

The reality is that this gas still produces CO₂ emissions when used, so perhaps “green” isn’t the best name for it. But at least it’s CO₂ that would have been emitted anyhow from the decaying organic waste, instead of increasing that amount of CO₂ by burning fossil fuels also.

Bullfrog’s green electricity credits work similarly: for every kilowatt of electricity you use, they add to the grid one kilowatt from a renewable source, like wind or water. Since they started in 2005, Bullfrog has displaced 1.3 million tons of CO₂.

Historically, Shopify has used Bullfrog’s credits to offset the energy used within our Canadian offices. In March 2020, Shopify began working remotely, which means we’ll have much less office space but far more home offices to offset. As we shared on our blog, Shopify plans to measure the carbon footprint from our work-from-home model, offsetting all home office emissions and sharing what we learn throughout the process.