Inside Our Impact Portfolio: Why We Invest in Vestas Wind Systems

windmill farm with a blue sky background

Here’s a look at why Vestas is part of our impact investing-focused Genus Fossil Free High-Impact fund​

Great companies know not only how to adapt to change but also how to anticipate it. Case in point: Vestas Wind Systems A/S has been anticipating the winds of change (and climate change) for over 120 years: what started in the late 19th century as a blacksmith shop in small-town Denmark has evolved into one of the world’s leading suppliers of sustainable energy solutions, with more than 113 GW of wind turbines in 81 countries around the world.

That commitment to sustainable energy is why Vestas has been an integral part of our impact investing-focused Genus Fossil Free High-Impact fund for over a year now.

The clean draw of wind

Throughout the 20th century, Vestas’s business evolved — from blacksmith shop to industrial window frame manufacturer to makers of milk urn coolers and hydraulic cranes. But by the 1970s, as oil prices went through the roof — and interest in renewable energy took hold — Vestas began to experiment with wind turbine technology. In 1979, Vestas sold and installed its first turbine.

So what’s the draw of wind? In a nutshell: there’s an endless and cheap supply of it, which makes it a leading source of clean, renewable energy. Thanks to the Paris Climate Agreement, countries all around the world are now committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, and Denmark is leading the charge in tackling climate change with a targeted 70% reductions by 2030.

Globally, the wind energy market was valued at over $93 billion (U.S.) in 2019 — with a projected compound annual growth rate of 8.4% between 2020 and 2026, according to Global Market Insights

While there has been criticism about some aspects of wind turbine power — including that land-based wind projects are often in remote locations (requiring extensive transmission lines bringing power to people) — much has been done to mitigate these issues through design and infrastructure improvements, as well as better waste-management systems.

Vestas, for one, is committed to doing its part promising to become a carbon-neutral company by 2030 (without using any carbon offsets) and producing zero-waste wind turbines by 2040. As the leading wind turbine manufacturer in the world — responsible for almost 10 gigawatts of global wind capacity — Vestas is well-positioned to inspire industry-wide change.

An ideal impact investment

It’s that position of market leadership that drew Mike Thiessen, Genus’ Director of Sustainable Investments, to Vestas Wind. “Vestas sells about 18% of wind turbines around the world. Stats like that are a big deal to our clients.”

For the Genus High-Impact Equity Fund, Genus selects from a universe of between 200 and 250 companies that have a high net-positive impact on sustainable development around the world. “We refresh the list every quarter, or as needed, to ensure that we can continue to label them as impactful,” says Thiessen. Genus calculates net impact based on the percentage of revenue a company is generating from an impactful activity — something that’s contributing toward the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) — and subtracts that from revenues generated from activities that detract from the SDGs.

As Thiessen sees it, Vestas represents a “100% impact investment”: a perfect opportunity to influence the market for renewable energy. “They’re creating and designing wind turbines, which really align with the kind of climate action thesis that a lot of our clients have.”

Beyond clean energy generation, Thiessen applauds Vestas’ efforts at waste management within their sector. “That’s often a big argument against renewable energy — that there’s a lot of emissions in creating wind turbines or solar panels. It’s great to see that Vestas is trying to reduce the amount of emissions, and reduce their waste through manufacturing.”

Carbon intensity is key

For investors looking for a socially conscious investing strategy — particularly one committed to fighting climate change — Thiessen says it’s critical to look at the total carbon intensity of any sustainable investment fund. And look for energy companies that are 100% committed to renewables.

“You’ll often find funds that will still have oil and gas in there, or railways,” says Thiessen. “Especially Canadian funds, which are very high carbon intensity. If you’re really passionate about climate action, it makes sense to divest from all the oil and gas companies and make clean-energy companies, like Vestas, a cornerstone of your sustainable investment strategy.”

Get in touch if you’d like to explore how investing in companies like Vestas can make a positive impact on your investment portfolio.​


Client impact

“Graduating from a big bank to Genus was one of the best financial steps we've ever taken. Genus has delivered reliable asset growth despite our moderate risk tolerance. As our financial security has grown, we've also been the beneficiaries of a great client experience. The company's communications have been consistently transparent and informative, including educational webinars and a well-designed web portal where we can track investments daily. Most importantly to us, our portfolio manager has always responded swiftly and thoroughly to our questions and requests. ”
Martin T.
"Having relatively diverse financial goals and needs, along with a slight reticence regarding the stock market, Genus skillfully addressed all of our concerns, and put together a truly exceptional plan: Fossil free funds and a diversified investment portfolio, check; An effective Impact investment portfolio that coincides with our hopes and dreams for a better world, check; Professional advice and assistance to create a donor advised charitable fund with immediate charitable receipts for tax purposes, check. Returns? Way beyond our expectations! We even had some fun along the way and certainly enjoyed an incredible two-year start to what will be a satisfying long-term relationship with Genus."
Marc B.
“I love the service I get at Genus.”
Chris H.
“Leslie and I were fellow board members when we met twenty years ago. For the last ten she has been thoughtful in the construction of an investment strategy for my family and is executing the strategy as planned. The team at Genus has met my expectations and are a pleasure to deal with.”
Bob Q.
“For over 15 years, I have provided selection and performance evaluation of multiple investment managers for a significant family office. Leslie and Genus have been foundational for me in my role. I have always found Leslie and her colleagues to be insightful and proactive, and found the performance of their portion of the portfolio to be well above benchmarks. And they have been a great pleasure to work with.”
Douglas H.
“Genus is a very innovative firm. I am pleased to invest in their Fossil Free and Impact strategies that help me invest in line with my values.”
Marnie C.
“Great team of professionals. Excellent website and reporting. Responds to inquiries promptly. Very pleased with the process of changing from another company to Genus as well. Kudos.”
David L.
“Genus consistently provides a good, clearly explained, comprehensive picture of the general economic and financial situation, along with an excellent account of the investment decisions made in relation to this. Genus’ equally strong concern with clients’ questions and requests for further information is also a very important part of the service it provides.”
Allan S.
“Back in 1992 when I found myself at fifty with a substantial amount of money to invest, I knew just one thing — that I didn’t want to contribute to tobacco companies, arms manufacturers, or oil. But over the ensuing years the options for socially responsible investing have become far more sophisticated and I’m very happy that this is a big part of the Genus approach. I also very much appreciate the long-term relationship with my portfolio manager, Mary Lou.”
Ann P.

As seen in

Are you ready to make an impact
with your investments

Call us
Call Us

Or fill out your details and we will get back to you.