PODCAST: Renewable Energy Energized, Greenwashing and Investing


Which renewable energy stocks benefit from lower rates? Beyond Meat’s wild stock success shows paradigm shift among investors for new vegan-vegetarian food investing. Comparing PepsiCo vs Coke-Cola environmentally and as investments. New robo advisor offers investing for racial justice. What to watch for to avoid greenwashing when investing. New large cap ESG ETF gets attention.

PODCAST: Renewable Energy Energized, Greenwashing and Investing

Transcript & Links June 21, 2019

Hello, Ron Robins here. Welcome to my podcast Ethical & Sustainable Investing News to Profit By! for June 21, 2019—presented by Investing for the Soul. investingforthesoul.com is your site for vital global ethical and sustainable investment information and resources.

Now to this podcast. And Google any terms that are unfamiliar to you.

Also, you can find a full transcript, live links and bonus material to this podcast at this editions’ podcast page located at investingforthesoul.com/podcasts

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Now, many investors listening to this podcast are investing with an ethical-sustainable investing mindset that takes seriously the need to care for the planet and as such is already leaning towards – if not done so already – to a more vegetable-based diet. Therefore, you’ve been following with great interest Beyond Meat’s ascension to stock price heights that were unimaginable a few weeks ago. Recently, it was trading above $160—and to me, that tells us something.

It says that there’s a paradigm shift taking place in the food industry centering around vegan-vegetarian foods and in my June 7 podcast I gave you some links to sites where you could find some interesting ideas for such investments. Now, also along these lines, Corporates Knights have published another good article on this industry titled, Plant burgers bring home the bacon and there you might find even more companies in this sector that you could look at.

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Another favorite for ethical-sustainable investors is renewable energy. In the US, despite President Trump’s attempt to get everyone excited about the fossil fuel industry there, renewable energy continues to take-off.

An argument for even greater take-off is made by Travis Hoium in his Motley Fool post Why Renewable Energy Stocks Could Have a Great Year. He argues that lower US interest rates will power up renewables. Quoting him, he says, “Like it or not, renewable energy stocks’ performance today is tied to what the Federal Reserve does with interest rates in any given month. The value of renewable power plants rises and falls with the market’s interest rates, and the impact of their movement trickles down to influence demand for everything from solar panels to inverters and wind turbines.” End quote.

Companies he likes in the solar panel area are Canadian Solar (NASDAQ: CSIQ), First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), and SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR) and for wind, General Electric (NYSE: GE) and Vestas Wind Systems (NASDAQOTH: VWSYF).

Travis also makes other recommendations in the renewable energy sector that you can read in his post.

Sophia Cai, writing in Barron’s with an article titled, Solar Power Is Starting to Shine. Here Are Some Stocks Poised to Benefit, covers Sunrun (NASDAQ: RUN), SunPower (NASDAQ SPWR), Vivant Solar (NYSE: VSLR), and Invesco Solar ETF (NYSE Arca: TAN).

While on the subject of renewable energy, a global new cell efficiency and modular output record were made by JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS). And what they did specifically, quoting a news release titled, JinkoSolar Breaks World Record for Cell Efficiency and Module Output states, “that the maximum conversion efficiency of JinkoSolar’s cheetah size cells and N-type cells reached 24.38% and 24.58%, respectively, during testing conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in March 2019, China’s authoritative national academy for the natural sciences.” Close quote.

Is JinkoSolar a buy? Well, the average of six analysts covered by Reuters rate it as hold, possibly a buy. However, these analyst opinions appear to have been made prior to JinkoSolar’s announcement.

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Profitably investing in renewable energy is one way we can help solve our climate change problems and thus create a less polluted world. Another is investing in companies making real efforts to reduce plastics’ pollution. Plastics’ pollution has recently been given prominence and two companies among the largest polluters of plastic are Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

Tim Nash over at Corporate Knights compares them both from a plastics, environmental, and investing perspective, in his article, Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Pepsi vs. Coke plastic challenge. He says, “Forget taste tests – [its] which drink maker will be the choice of a planet-conscious generation?”

His final opinion is that, and quoting him again, he says that “Coca-Cola and Pepsi are very similar when it comes to most sustainability metrics, but I’ll give Pepsi the edge thanks to its broader diversification and the disruptive potential of refillable dispenser technologies like SodaStream. Both companies have a long way to go, but Pepsi is this week’s winner of the Sustainable Stock Showdown.” End quote.

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Now doing your own investing can be daunting. Just in these podcasts, you hear about so many different investment opportunities. Because I know what this can be like, a year ago I created a simple step by step one-hour DIY Ethical-Sustainable Investing Tutorial. It doesn’t require any financial knowledge or math skills and you’ll quickly learn some simple things to easily put-together a stock portfolio reflecting your values directly – and which will potentially be as profitable and at a lower cost than any other option available! So, take a few seconds to check it out!

Just go to investingforthesoul.com/podcasts and scroll down the right-hand column for the link.

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Now let’s cover a few useful miscellaneous items.

If you’re interested in racial justice issues there’s a robo advisor for US investors offering just that. The firm is Openinvest, and it has launched the Racial Justice Index Fund. Here’s what Openinvest says about it, quote, “OpenInvest has identified companies that hold themselves accountable to the public regarding their progress on employee diversity and their commitment to environmental justice. Our Racial Justice cause allows any investor to tailor their investments to only include those companies who are transparent about their progress on diversity targets, and to divest from those that disproportionately pollute in communities of color.”

You can also read more about it a FORTUNE article titled, You Can Now Invest in a ‘Racial Justice’ Index Fund by Rey Mashayekhi.

And there’s yet another new US ESG ETF that’s gathering attention and that is Nuveen’s ESG Large-Cap ETF (CBOE: NULC). You can read all about in Todd Shriber’s article, Nuveen Adds To ESG Roster With New Large-Cap ETF at benzinga.com. Quoting his article, “The new NULC tracks the TIAA ESG USA Large-Cap Index. The Index uses a rules-based methodology that seeks to provide investment exposure that generally replicates that of large-cap benchmarks through a portfolio of securities that adhere to predetermined ESG, controversial business involvement and low-carbon screening criteria, according to Nuveen.” Close quote.

While wanting to invest ethically, sustainably, we can always be subject to ‘greenwashing’ investing. That is, investing in companies that say a lot of good things, but don’t do any real heavy lifting. I’ve always been greatly concerned about this and for decades have advocated that corporate social responsibility reports, now often replaced with sustainability reports, provide not only metrics that are material – that is, would affect their operations and stock price – but also such reports be quantifiable where possible and audited by reputable outside independent auditors. Much the same way as for financial statements. And we’re getting there!

Only in this way can we get rid of greenwashing. Masja Zandbergen has written a good piece about avoiding greenwashing from a portfolio manager’s perspective in the article titled, Avoiding greenwashing in sustainable investing in Singapore’s The Business Times. It’s useful reading to see how you might avoid falling for greenwashing in your investing.

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So, these are my top news stories and tips for ethical and sustainable investors over the past two weeks.

Again, to get all the links or to read the transcript of this podcast and sometimes get additional information too, please go to investingforthesoul.com/podcasts and scroll down for this edition.

And be sure to click the like and subscribe buttons in iTunes or wherever you listen to this podcast. That way you can help promote not only this podcast but ethical and sustainable investing globally.

And remember, I’m here to help you grow in your investment success—and investing in opportunities that reflect your personal values!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the content of this podcast or anything else investment related. I can’t say I’ll have all the answers for you and some answers I can’t give due to licensing restrictions. But where I can help I will.

Now, a big thank you for listening—and please click the share buttons to share this podcast with your friends and family.

Come again! My next podcast is scheduled for July 5. Bye for now.

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