We are at the edge, not the end, of history. The world is reaching its limits and is at war over the critical natural resources that define them.
The economy, everyone and everything depends on energy, as well as the minerals and water needed to generate it. Everyone depends on food, which is being cut off by conflict over it. Competition for, and relentless consumption of, natural resources is manifesting itself on the global stage in the form of geopolitical conflict and climate change.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which means, literally 'on the edge', signified a profound dislocation, a 'hand-break turn' for energy and foreign policy that has shone a global-scale spotlight on the issues of competition for resources, energy security, and the economic and environmental consequences of failure for countries, companies, and populations.
The Edge is about our limits, but also a turning point. Have we reached one now, why, so what, and what should we do about it? The Edge seeks to explain 'why' the world is facing so many of the challenges ahead of it today, to ask 'so what', in terms of the implications for individuals, society and the planet, and what we can do about it. It seeks to establish a framework to explain what is happening in the world today. So, as new news emerges every day, such as the UK's financial crisis, the European energy crisis, sabotage of gas pipelines, extreme weather events in the United States, the debates over climate action and Russian aggression in the Ukraine, we can recognise the patterns they fit, and their root causes.
The Edge sheds light on problems, in order to reveal solutions. One of our biggest problems, that we waste most of the natural resources that we depend on and compete for, with global geopolitical, economic and environmental consequences, is also the source of one of our greatest opportunities.
Jonathan Maxwell is the Founder and CEO of Sustainable Development Capital, LLP (‘SDCL’), an independent investment firm with over US$2 billion of investment capital dedicated to efficient and decentralised generation of energy (‘EDGE’). Jonathan has over 27 years of experience in business and finance with 15 years at the helm of one of the UK’s only independent sustainability and climate-focussed investment firms, which is one of the largest and fastest-growing firms of its kind in the world.
Jonathan, who maintains that ‘if it’s not commercial, it’s not sustainable’, led SDCL to establish first-of-a-kind investment funds, often with government backing, in the UK, Europe, the United States and Asia. He has focussed on energy efficiency, the largest and most cost-effective source of greenhouse gas emission reductions. He has advised global governments as well as attracted investment capital from a wide range of global investors. He pioneered the first energy efficiency company of its kind on the London Stock Exchange in 2018, which is now a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index, as well as funds in the private capital market and a company listing on the New York Stock Exchange. SDCL was the winner of the Environmental Finance Boutique Investment Manager of the Year Award in 2021. In 2022, SDCL and Jonathan were shortlisted as finalists for Investment Week’s Sustainable Investment Awards: SDCL for Best Sustainable Specialist Fund and Jonathan for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Sustainable Investment Industry’.
Jonathan is a regular contributor to national and international press, radio, television, and online media, commenting on investment, financial markets, and sustainability issues. Jonathan has a degree in Modern History from Oxford University. He lives in London, England, with his wife and two children.
"An important contribution. One of the huge comparative advantages of this book is the seriousness and knowledge about energy and efficiency. It explains how critical resource efficiency, relating to energy, but also to other scarce resources such as food, water, minerals, and time will be to managing the enormous geopolitical, economic, and environmental challenges in front of all of us today."
– Lord Stern, Chair of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, and head of the Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change.