Sunél's Blog | The greatest danger to your portfolio

Sunél Veldtman, | 04 November 2022


I recently watched David Attenborough’s witness statement, A Life on Our Planet, with my sixteen-year-old son. The documentary relays the invisible tragedy of our time – the loss of our planet’s biodiversity. It is the story of our generation’s greatest mistake.

The loss of habitat and species, and the temperature rise, pose an existential threat to humans’ survival on our planet. Seeing this movie through my son’s eyes shattered my heart. 

Our children fear their future because of our actions, and now our inaction. Our failure to change our behaviour fast enough to stop the existential threat will cost our children a secure future.

Even if you do not believe that global warming is our fault, our consumption of stuff and careless discarding of stuff has undeniably ruined the wild and diverse resources that are essential to our survival.

Even when we agree that we have a problem we talk about the dangers, like plastic in the oceans or the destruction of the rain forests, as though we have no share in it. Others caused this problem. It’s not other careless people, or bad businesses, shady multinationals, or governments. It’s you and me.  

The documentary also set out what we can do now, to restore the world and so secure our survival and the future of our children. For example, we may not be able to change government policies on fishing and deforestation, but we can change our ways. Change our energy and water sources, and consumption thereof. Reduce consumption in general. Ditch plastic. Eat less meat. Raise people out of poverty to limit population growth. These are some of the actions we can all get involved in.

At recent conferences for financial advisors, I was disturbed by the lack of attention to this urgent topic. We continue to talk about the dangers of inflation to our clients’ portfolios, but we remain silent about the greatest danger, or at best, we only pay lip service to it.

There are so many examples of our mindless consumption of raw materials. Notebooks and pens. Disposable coffee cups with branded paper sleeves. Branded gifts in branded packaging. Plastic wrapping. How many of these items gather dust and cannot be reused because of the branding? How much waste is caused by just one such event?

While we’re going about our business, helping clients to craft financial plans to fulfil their dreams and leave legacies for their children, we are ignoring their biggest risk – the deterioration of their world. Soon, it will envelop all our plans, and overshadow all other risks to our futures.  

I despair because it feels like we are sipping champagne whilst shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, while the ship is in great danger of sinking. Only this time, it won’t be an iceberg causing it to sink because there may be none left soon. We will likely be engulfed by the tsunami of rising seas or lack of livelihood due to dying species.

We must stop now! Stop going about business in our vulgar Babylonian way, which is powered by an act of destruction on the rarest resource. Our planet.

Ps. I love to hear your comments. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe to receive this blog every week on our website

Kind regards,