Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Check the Markets: Green Mutual Funds and Stocks

Last week I recommended Check the Markets' Seeing Green blog as a great source of news for business in the clean energy/clean tech sector. Well, one thing led to another and so here's the first of what promises to be a long and happy guest posting relationship between Maria Energia and Seeing Green.

Green Mutual Funds and the Green Stocks They Invest In

Funds that call themselves "Green" are a newer breed. Some, like the Spectra Green fund (ticker symbol: SPEGX), specialize in "Socially Responsible" companies. Other green funds are involved in activities and products aimed at protecting our planet's ecosystems and the survival of the many life forms this earth supports.

The green funds, according to Ms. Jane Bryant Quinn at Newsweek, "own some renewables (clean energy) but lean more toward clean companies in fields such as health care and software. A sampling of no-loads (no sales commissions): Portfolio 21, a global investor in companies with good environmental practices: Winslow Green Growth Fund, in smaller companies, mainly in the United States; New Alternatives, a pure-play global investor in renewable energy; and two Sierra Club funds, a Stock Fund and an Equity Income Fund that screens out companies harmful to the environment."

When you check out the New Alternatives Fund (ticker symbol: NALFX) and you go to their website at Newalternativesfund.com, you get the impression they cover companies that span the green gamut from clean water, clean air and recycling to companies that get involved with natural foods, biomass, geothermal power, ocean energy, wind power, solar energy and energy conservation. They claim that they don't invest in Oil, Coal, Weapons, or Nuclear Power, but they like Natural Gas, which their site claims "is the cleanest of all hydrocarbons, particularly when used in modern turbines and fuel cells. Natural gas resources are generally domestic." We concur and encourage you to check out the New Alternatives Fund.

When you look at the website for funds, like the New Alternatives Fund, you usually can find a list of holdings or a list of investments. This will give you an idea of some of the specific companies that they invest in, what percent of the total fund they have invested in each of these companies and a brief description of what the publicly-traded companies they hold are involved in.

New Alternatives' two largest holdings are Spanish companies whose description sounds full of green activities such as biomass (ethanol), aluminum recycling, solar and wind energy, as well as biofuels. These companies don't trade on U.S. exchanges, but other holdings like Baldor Electric (NYSE:BEZ) and United Natural Foods (Nasdaq:UNFI) are traded in the U.S.

According to Newsweek, the next big area of interest for green investors might be "Water," the resource that all living creatures can't live without. They reported that venture capitalist Joyce Ferris of Blue Hill Partners believes that conservation, distribution, purification, and wastewater treatment will be enormous opportunities surrounding the subject of water. "Traders might consider ETF PowerShares Water Resources (AMEX:PHO), tracking 41 companies in the U.S. water industry," according to Ms. Quinn's article. We prefer the ETF PowerShares Global Water Resource (AMEX:PIO) which includes a more international portfolio.

Green investing is here to stay. As billionaire sensation Ted Turner recently proclaimed, solar energy and clean technologies will be “the greatest business opportunity of all time.” Green investors want to make wise investments in companies and funds that are proactively seeking the solutions to today's global, environmental crises. Like you, we'd rather be part of the solution than part of the problem.

- Marc Courtenay

Full disclosure: I am an investor in New Alternatives Fund - Maria


Anonymous said...

Does the New Alternatives Fund also include Whole Foods? While one can't fault their investment in wind power, Whole Foods' anti-union stance certainly leaves something to be desired...

Unknown said...

Fantastic info...I have been very interested in geothermal energy as of late, especially after Gov. Schwarzenegger formed a bill into law that set a CO2 limit on coal plants as a future source of electricity in the West Coast market. This is a good (early) time for geothermal energy production.

I would also recommend this report to everyone...

Geothermal Energy Special Report

Maria Surma Manka said...

Yes New Alternatives does include Whole Foods .45% (http://www.newalternativesfund.com/returns/returns_list.html)