The CEO’s Perspective

Looking Beyond the Headlines to Find Emerging Opportunities

October 2022 / 2 minute read
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Over the first nine months of 2022, investors have faced a constant stream of economic challenges that have unsettled markets and heightened volatility. Many of these developments have centered on the interrelated forces of rising interest rates, surging inflation, and disruptions in global supply chains that have been exacerbated by geopolitical uncertainty, namely Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

While inflation touches every aspect of the economy, the impact has been perhaps the most dramatic—and certainly the most visible to consumers—in food and energy markets. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index is up more than 50% since 20201, and the average price of a gallon of gasoline is up about 70% from two years ago.2

These dynamics remind us how complex and globally interconnected the supply chains are for these critical goods. Today’s environment also presents opportunities for long-term, growth-oriented investors to see how technological innovations and new policies are converging to meet these challenges.

Brent Gledhill
Brent Gledhill, William Blair President and CEO

In this issue of Client Focus, we highlight several investment themes we are closely following in the energy and agriculture sectors—trends that we expect to drive sustainable economic growth and meet the needs of people around the world.

Alaina Anderson, a portfolio manager with William Blair Investment Management’s international equity team, analyzes the dynamics shaping today’s global energy markets. Alaina examines how the war in Ukraine could lead to increased investments in the renewable energy sector.

Larry De Maria, co-group head of William Blair Equity Research’s global industrial infrastructure team, discusses the latest advancements in agriculture technology. Larry looks at how breakthroughs related to equipment and land stewardship are providing farmers with innovative, sustainable practices to protect the environment while simultaneously increasing profits.

Investment Banking client Gary Meyers, CEO of cleantech software provider Power Factors, shares the changes he is seeing in the renewable energy sector and weighs in on what the Inflation Reduction Act means for the continued development and commercialization of environmentally friendly technology.

As we head into the final quarter of 2022, we look forward to continuing to provide differentiated insight to help you manage today’s changing markets. On behalf of the entire William Blair team, thank you for the trust you have placed in our people and our firm. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at CEOPerspective@williamblair.com with any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Brent

Brent Gledhill
President and CEO


1Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
2U.S. Energy Information Administration