MarketWatch – Sustainable agriculture is the next way ESG investors can fight climate change

March 24, 2021 – MarketWatch columnist Debbie Carlson quotes Levi Stewart Zurbrugg, portfolio manager at Saturna Capital, in the article “Sustainable agriculture is the next way ESG investors can fight climate change.” Carlson’s piece links to Zurbrugg’s research, “Feeding 10 Billion People in a Climate-Changing World” published as an edition of Saturna’s “From The Yardarm” market commentary and analysis newsletter.

In her article, Carlson reports that while large-scale sustainable agriculture remains in early stages, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) focused investors may find new opportunities as the industry implements innovative technologies to help mitigate climate change.

“Sustainable agriculture doesn’t necessarily equal small, organic farming,” Zurbrugg told Carlson. “It’s really a host of different and sometimes even competing practices.”

Zurbrugg identifies complexity as a roadblock for potential sustainable agriculture investors. His research cites a wide array of promising technologies, such as enzyme seed treatments that increase plant nutrient absorption and livestock feed additives that cut agricultural methane emissions by reducing cow, sheep, and goat farts and burps. Carlson’s article also discusses “precision agriculture” using satellite imagery and drone technology, irrigation efficiencies for water conservation, and social and labor considerations of supply chains. Since many of these approaches are in early stages, individual investors may find it difficult to determine which of them may pan out.

Levi Stewart Zurbrugg MBA, CPA® joined Saturna Capital in 2019. He is a senior investment analyst and portfolio manager of Sextant Short-Term Bond Fund.

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