PODCAST: ESG Funds, Stocks, for 2020. And More…

Best ESG funds and renewable energy stocks for 2020 from top analysts. Leading sustainable investing stories and stocks of 2019. Greenpeace ranks Chinese big tech companies for sustainability. Notable global clean energy stocks you never heard about. New IBM battery chemistry could spur a revolution in clean energy production and electric vehicle technology. And more…

PODCAST: ESG Funds, Stocks, for 2020. And More…

Transcript & Links, Episode 23, January 17, 2020

Hello, Ron Robins here. Welcome to podcast episode 23 for January 17, 2020, titled “ESG Funds, Stocks for 2020. And More…” presented by Investing for the Soul. investingforthesoul.com is your site for vital global ethical and sustainable investing news, commentary, information, and resources.

Remember that you can find a full transcript, links to content – including stock symbols – and bonus material at this episodes’ podcast page located at investingforthesoul.com/podcasts.

And, Google any terms that are unfamiliar to you.

Now to this episode.


Let’s begin with a wrap-up of 2019 from Morningstar’s distinguished sustainability analyst, Jon Hale. His article is titled, 10 Sustainable Investing Stories of 2019.

His ten top stories are: The Growing Immediacy of Climate Change; The Shift Toward Stakeholder Capitalism; Proxy Voting and Shareholder Engagement Take Center Stage; Turning Back the Clock at the SEC; Interest in Sustainable Investing Continues to Rise Among Individual Investors; Flows Into U.S. Sustainable Funds More Than Tripled in 2019; A Strong Year for U.S. Sustainable Fund Performance; Many More Funds “Considering” ESG; Enhancement to Morningstar Sustainability Rating; and Impact investing.

It’s well worth reading so go to the link on this episode’s webpage.


ESG Funds, Stocks (1)

Another article with a Morningstar connection is by Nancy Zambell titled Social Responsibly: Five Top-Rated ESG Funds. It’s published on the Money Show site.

Ms. Zambell “looked at about 25 of the most popular SRI funds [on Morningstar], searching for the highest-rated.” Here are the five ESG funds she recommends:


ESG Funds, Stocks (2)

On a different note, has the new trade deal between the US and China sparked your interest in Chinese tech companies? Or, do you already invest in them? Either way, you’ll be interested in a new report released by Greenpeace concerning their sustainability performance. You can read all about it in a Fortune article by Naomi Xu Elegant titled ‘They Must Scale Up:’ Greenpeace Ranks China’s Tech Giants on Renewable Energy.

Ms. Xu Elegant writes that “Greenpeace collaborated with the North China Electric Power University for the report, which analyzed 15 of China’s biggest cloud companies and data center operators and scored them based on their performance in renewable energy, carbon reduction, and energy efficiency.” End quote.

Further, she writes that the “E-commerce giant Alibaba—China’s largest company by market value—scored 60 out of a possible 100 points on the ranking. Tencent, China’s second-largest publicly listed company, scored 52 on the report.

Huawei and Baidu each scored 46, while e-commerce company JD.com received just 12 points. Huawei was the only company on the list that has set a greenhouse gas emission reduction target.

Software firm Baosight Software, whose parent company is the state-owned Fortune Global 500 company Baowu Steel, made the bottom of the ranking, receiving just two points.” End quote.

Incidentally, I have the link to the full report on this episode’s page at investingforthesoul.com/podcasts.


ESG Funds, Stocks (3)

Now back to the crucial renewable energy space where there have been several recent articles reviewing and recommending the best ESG funds, stocks, in the sector.

These Were the 5 Best Renewable Energy Stocks of 2019

The first article I want to discuss is titled These Were the 5 Best Renewable Energy Stocks of 2019. It’s by Scott Levine writing on the Motley Fool site. He says the five leaders were: Brookfield Renewable Partners (up 81%); Plug Power (149%); SolarEdge Technologies (169%); Ballard Power (190%); and Enphase Energy (466%).

As for 2020, Mr. Levine says that I quote, “In general, fuel cell companies [Plug Power and Ballard Power] seem the most likely to hit bumps in the road in 2020, while Brookfield Renewable Partners, SolarEdge, and Enphase appear poised to build on their recent successes.” End quote.

4 Top Solar Energy Stocks to Buy in January

The second article is titled 4 Top Solar Energy Stocks to Buy in January. By a regular on this podcast, Travis Hoium. He says to buy, yup again, Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP). Yes, this stock really has a huge following. Even more about it later in this podcast. He says Brookfield “returned 350% over the decade when you include dividends.” End quote.

His second pick is another popular recommendation, SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR). About Sunpower, he writes, “What I like about SunPower’s new strategy is that it will be a large, platform company in distributed solar… SunPower is also the No. 1 commercial solar developer in the U.S., a huge market that’s been under-exploited thus far.” End quote.

Mr. Levine’s third choice is Vivint Solar (NYSE:VSLR). About Vivint, he says “The No. 2 residential solar installer in the U.S. is Vivint Solar (NYSE:VSLR), and unlike SunPower, it’s the company installing solar panels on customers’ roofs.” End quote.

Fourthly, is First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR). Quote, “No company has been as successful in this industry as First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR). It produces thin-film solar panels that are primarily used in utility-scale solar projects.” End quote.

2 Top Renewable Energy Stocks to Buy in January

The third article 2 Top Renewable Energy Stocks to Buy in January is by Neha Chamaria, also a Motley Fool contributor. Her picks are also familiar to this podcast’s listeners. The first one is NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE). She writes that “Today, NextEra is the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy, thanks to its decisions to invest in them long before most other traditional utilities took the plunge.” End quote.

Of her second choice, Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE: BEP), she comments that “Brookfield Renewable Partners is the perfect bet on hydroelectric power… hydropower, not solar or wind, is currently the world’s largest renewable source of electricity generation.” End quote.

Incidentally, Brookfield Renewable Partners is involved in a major takeover of TerraForm Power. TerraForm Power has solar and wind assets in the US and Europe. Read all about it in an article titled Brookfield powers ahead with takeover bid for TerraForm by Abigail Townsend on the ShareCast site.

Better Buy: Brookfield Infrastructure Partners vs. Brookfield Asset Management

The fourth and final renewable energy-related article I want to cover is titled Better Buy: Brookfield Infrastructure Partners vs. Brookfield Asset Management. It’s by John Bromels, another analyst I often feature. He states that Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE:BAM) [is] the parent [of] Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE:BIP).” End quote.

In summation, he writes that “With its superior yield, excellent management team, and more recession-resistant portfolio, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners is going to be the better buy for most investors. However, those who are looking for an investment for a tax-advantaged account may not be able to invest. For these investors, Brookfield Asset Management is certainly an attractive option, as long as it’s not a high dividend yield you’re after.” End quote.


ESG Funds, Stocks (4)

More on the subject of clean energy ESG funds, stocks, are Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2020 by Tom Konrad writing for the AltEnergy site. Many of his picks haven’t been covered in this podcast before. Mr. Konrad has a great record of stock picking! He says, quoting him that, “I’ve been publishing lists of ten clean energy stocks that I think will do well in the year to come since 2008.  With a 46 percent total return, the 2019 list has had its best year since 2009, when it managed a 57 percent return by catching the rebound off the 2008 crash.” End quote. So he’s worth paying attention too!

I urge you to go to his article for his reasoning behind each choice. The link is on this podcast episode’s webpage. Forgive me if I don’t pronounce all of their names correctly. So, here are his picks:

Covanta Holding Corp. (CVA) and Valeo SA (FR.PAVLEEF, VLEEY); Green Plains Partners (GPP); NFI Group, Inc. (NFI.TO, NFYEF); MiX Telematics (MIXT); Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais, a.k.a Cemig (CIG); Red Eléctrica Corporación, S.A. (REE.MC, RDEIF, RDEIY); Veolia Environnement S.A. (VIE.PA, VEOEF, VEOEY); Polaris Infrastructure Inc. (PIF.TO, RAMPF); and Pattern Energy Group (PEGI).


No more heavy metals? New IBM battery chemistry research could address mineral sourcing concerns

Finally, a heads-up on what could be a game-changer in the rechargeable battery field. It has the potential to significantly impact your renewable energy-related investments! Read all about in No more heavy metals? New IBM battery chemistry research could address mineral sourcing concerns by Heather Clancy at the GreenBiz site.

Quoting Ms. Clancy, she says that “IBM scientists in the battery laboratory… say they have created multiple prototypes of a battery that uses a cathode free of both cobalt and nickel.” End quote. This could be big!


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

Again, to get all the links, stock symbols and more, or to read the transcript of this podcast and with additional information too, please go to investingforthesoul.com/podcasts and scroll down to this episode.

And be sure to click the like and subscribe buttons in iTunes/Apple Podcasts or wherever you download or listen to this podcast.

Also, please click the share buttons to share this podcast with your friends and family. That way you can help promote not only this podcast but ethical and sustainable investing globally. So, let’s help create a better world with our investments!

Contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you for listening.

Talk to you again on January 31. Bye for now.

© 2020 Ron Robins, Investing for the Soul.

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