Week 0: Intro

Mar 29, 2021

Hello, and welcome to my Senior Project Blog! 

My project is going to focus on the intersection of two problems that I care about quite a bit: economic downturn and climate change. Essentially, I’m going to look at various new sustainable markets/business practices/technologies/etc to determine their efficacy as an investment, their ability to create jobs and promote economic growth, and their overall contribution towards reducing climate change. For me, this is essentially a business project, and it won’t focus too heavily on the scientific aspects.

This project stems from a place of trying to find pragmatic solutions to climate change. As everyone knows, the importance people place on climate change is heavily correlated with political affiliation. These are some statistics from Pew:

 

This project is not designed to criticize one party, in fact the reason I chose this project is because I thought it could create a win-win situation, where people can make money purely for the sake of making money, but also, in the process, contribute to the fight against climate change. The project will only focus on areas that would actually make money, not investments simply for the sake of fighting climate change.

A large chunk of my research will not only focus on those various business practices, but also on determining those economic and environmental viability factors as I like to call them. Economic viability factors will likely include risk incurred, capital needed to start, size before profitability, as well as a host of others that I’ll discover through my research. Environmental viability will almost certainly be more subjective, considering that different business practices will contribute to different fronts in the fight against climate change. Once I’ve figured out these factors, the business practices I research will receive an overall score from 1-100, with 100 being the most viable and 1 being companies as viable as Quibi. This score will be the headline for each business area displayed in my senior project presentation.

It is in determining these viability factors where my on-site placement comes in. I’ll be working with ING Bank in the sustainable finance division, and using their resources in my research to determine both the economic and environmental viability factors. 

If you’re wondering about the inspiration for this project, for me it all comes down to one company: Tesla. Tesla was not founded with the express purpose of fighting climate change, of reducing CO2 emissions. Like most other companies, it was founded because there was a gap in the market. No company had created practical electric cars that also provided a really good user experience. Before Tesla, we had the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, both cars targeted to an extremely narrow target demographic— people who based their lives around limiting their carbon footprint. Tesla, in contrast, is widely targeted towards everyone. Many (if not most) aren’t considering the environmental benefits of driving an electric car, rather they enjoy the instant acceleration an electric car provides, or they like the advanced technology contained in Teslas. Moreover, it seems to me that people across the political spectrum own Teslas. It’s a win-win. And not only has Tesla itself replaced ICE vehicles, but it has promoted the idea to other car companies that electric cars are the future. With this project, I want to find the next Tesla. I look forward to sharing these findings on this blog.

Thanks so much for reading!

2 Replies to “Week 0: Intro”

  1. Webber S. says:

    This is very interesting, Josh. I always thought that corporations should be regulated or heavily taxed if they were destroying the environment for profit. I also agree about your statement on Tesla and find it very intriguing.

  2. Himani S. says:

    This seems like such an exciting, interesting project! I can’t wait to hear about the various sustainable practices and which ones are most effective in reducing their carbon footprint while turning a profit.

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