PODCAST: Vegan Funds, Infrastructure, Utility Stocks. And More…


New coverage of US Vegan Climate ETF and Karner Blue Animal Impact Fund. The recent launch of LGBTQ100 ESG stock index is doing well. Prepare to pounce on exciting infrastructure stocks. Canadian sustainable utility stocks, attractive. 3 great alternative energy ETFs to buy as traditional energy ETFs lag. Renewable energy stocks for 2020. And more

PODCAST: Vegan Funds. Infrastructure, Utility Stocks. And More…

Transcript & Links, Episode 25, February 14, 2020

Hello, Ron Robins here. Welcome to podcast episode 25 for February 14, 2020, titled “Vegan Funds. Infrastructure, Utility Stocks. 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 episode’s podcast page located at investingforthesoul.com/podcasts.

And, Google any terms that are unfamiliar to you.

Now to this episode.

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1) Ethical and Sustainable Investing News

The outstanding success of the Beyond Meat initial public offering at $25 which rose to over $230 and now trades around $115 signifies the huge latent demand for vegan and vegetarian investments for ethical and sustainable investors.

A terrific article related to this was written by Ron Lieber in The New York Times titled, How a Vegan Ends Up With Leather in Her Portfolio. In the article, he reviews two vegan and vegetarian-friendly funds

These are the US Vegan Climate ETF and the Karner Blue Animal Impact Fund.

I’ve previously covered the US Vegan Climate ETF in my podcasts Amazon vs. eBay, First Vegan Fund, and more… on August 16, 2019, and again after the fund debuted in my podcast First Vegan Fund, Renewable Energy Stocks, and more… of September 13, 2019. So, you can go to those podcasts to review previous research and comments.

US Vegan Climate ETF

Concerning the US Vegan Climate ETF, Mr. Lieber has this to say, that “One issue that inspires deep feelings: animal welfare. It is one of the newest niches that socially responsible investment companies seek to serve, and it offers a useful template for the kinds of questions that all of us need to ask if we want to craft a portfolio that points the same way as our moral compass…

The US Vegan Climate ETF… begins with subtraction: removing companies, and even whole industries, that it considers animal unfriendly. Pharmaceuticals? Poof, because of all the animal testing…

[It] nixes fossil fuel companies, but it still owns stock in automakers that make gas-powered vehicles with leather interiors. Here, the fund’s creator, Beyond Investing, saw an opportunity to push the car companies toward skin-free seating, given that Tesla has made that move with some models…

The Vegan ETF features a fee of 0.60 percent, which is a lot for an index fund.” End quote.

Karner Blue Animal Impact Fund

And on the Karner Blue Animal Impact Fund, Mr. Lieber says that “Named for the endangered butterfly, [it] takes a different approach. It is an actively managed mutual fund, with fewer than half the number of stocks in the Vegan ETF, including companies not based in the United States.

Another big difference: It employs so-called positive screening, picking best-of-breed companies in as many industries as it can stomach…” End quote.

Then Mr. Lieber quotes Vicki L. Benjamin, president of Karner Blue Capital as saying that ‘We are not animal avoidant, We are animal engagement…” Mr. Lieber adds, “That’s how Karner Blue ends up with Chipotle in its portfolio: It likes the chain’s animal welfare efforts (its continuing food safety questions aside).” End quote.

As to the cost of the fund, Mr. Lieber writes, “Karner Blue funds can cost even more than the First Vegan Fund, though the exact amount depends on how much you invest and whether you’re using a financial adviser.” End quote. Since it is a mutual fund, it’s probably only available in the US.

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2) Ethical and Sustainable Investing News

Now here’s an unusual and interesting ESG index that some ethical and sustainable investors might be interested in. Though it does appeal to a specific population segment. It’s the LGBTQ100 ESG Index (Ticker: LGBTQ100). An article describing this ESG index appeared on Yahoo! Finance under the title LGBTQ100 ESG Index Closes Above 2,000.00 Three Months Post Launch.

Quote, “Designed to advance equality throughout corporate America, the Index tracks the top 100 companies within the U.S. that rank high on environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics and support the cause for diversity and equality across the nation. Bobby Blair, CEO of LGBTQ Loyalty Holdings, Inc. said, ‘I’m thrilled that our LGBTQ100 ESG Index, which screens for ESG compliance in addition to advancing equality, has outperformed the S&P 500 in its first 90 days.” End quote.

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4) Ethical and Sustainable Investing News

On a different note, have you ever considered infrastructure stocks? Some of them might be a fit for most ethical and sustainable investors. Matthew DiLallo writes about them on the Motley Fool site in a post titled 3 Top Infrastructure Stocks to Watch in February.

He says that “Several infrastructure stocks have made big moves over the past year, making them less appealing buys these days… [but] sell-offs can come out of nowhere [and that] is why investors should always keep an updated watchlist… With that in mind, three infrastructure-related stocks to watch this month are Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE: BIP), TerraForm Power (NASDAQ: TERP), and ONEOK (NYSE: OKE). All three could deliver some market-moving news this February, making them worth watching closely.”

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5) Ethical and Sustainable Investing News

Some other stock ideas that ethical and sustainable investors might consider are utility companies with good environmental records. Divya Balji wrote an article titled ESG Rock Stars Sprout From Safe Utility Stocks in Canada that first appeared on Bloomberg and I found on Yahoo! Finance.

Ms. Balji writes “There’s a green revolution taking place in a corner of Canada’s stock market… Last year, the S&P/TSX Composite Utilities Index was the second-best group of Canadian stocks — surging 32%…” End quote.

Ms. Balji then specifies the companies she likes, saying that “Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. (INE.TO), a renewable power producer, has soared 26% in 2020 after a 34% rally last year. Just this week, it announced a C$661 million partnership with Hydro-Québec targeting wind and solar projects…

And Boralex Inc. (BLX.TO), an electricity producer with renewable energy power stations, is up 20% this year after a 45% climb in 2019.

(And) Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (AQN.TO), the regulated utility with sustainable energy assets are trading at the highest level since it was listed about 22 years ago.”

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6) Ethical and Sustainable Investing News

Continuing on the subject of energy, Todd Shriber over at the InvestorPlace site has posted an article titled 3 Great Alternative Energy ETFs to Buy as Traditional Energy ETFs Lag. His three picks are:

ALPS Clean Energy ETF (CBOE: ACES); iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (NASDAQ: ICLN); and VanEck Vectors Low Carbon Energy ETF (NYSEARCA: SMOG)

ALPS Clean Energy ETF

On ALPS Clean Energy ETF, he writes that it has an “Expense ratio: 0.65% per year. What’s compelling about ALPS Clean Energy ETF relative to rival alternative energy ETFs is that it reaches multiple corners of this fast-growing market segment, including wind, solar, storage and efficiency, LED and smart grid technologies, just to name a few.” End quote.

iShares Global Clean Energy ETF

Regarding the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF, Mr. Shriber says its “Expense ratio is 0.46%… one of the more seasoned members of the renewable energy ETF landscape [the] iShares Global Clean Energy ETF, which tracks the S&P Global Clean Energy Index, isn’t quite as diverse, thematically speaking, as the aforementioned ALPS Clean Energy ETF, but the iShares fund does offer more than adequate penetration into the wind and solar industries, which could be a boon for the fund in 2020.” End quote.

VanEck Vectors Low Carbon Energy ETF

And on the VanEck Vectors Low Carbon Energy ETF, he says that its “Expense ratio is 0.63%… VanEck Vectors Low Carbon Energy ETF allocates 12.28% of its weight to Tesla stock… (this ETF) follows the Ardour Global Index, which quoting VanEck, ‘is intended to track the overall performance of low carbon energy companies which are those companies primarily engaged in alternative energy which includes power derived principally from biofuels (such as ethanol), wind, solar, hydro and geothermal sources and also includes the various technologies that support the production, use, and storage of these sources.” End quote.

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7) Ethical and Sustainable Investing News

So, I hope you’re not bored with my energy focus. But it’s such an important area! This next article is titled 2 Environmentally Friendly Stocks to Buy as Climate Crisis Intensifies. It also appeared on Yahoo! Finance. Its source is TipRanks and the author isn’t mentioned. The first company recommended is Renewable Energy Group Inc. (REGI).

Renewable Energy Group Inc.

Quote, “Renewable Energy Group Inc. is the largest biodiesel manufacturer in the US, with 14 biorefineries and a feedstock processing facility… The company has added over 200% to its share price since 2017… [It has a] strong buy consensus rating. At $35, the average price target suggests possible upside of 33%.” End quote.

Sunrun Inc.

The second company is Sunrun Inc. (RUN). The article’s author says “Sunrun has done very well over the last few years, with 2019’s 38% gain adding up to a cumulative 200% increase since 2017. The company is now the number 1 residential solar installer in the US… Sunrun has a unanimous strong buy consensus rating from the Street.” End quote.

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Ending Comments

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

And 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.

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

And, 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 February 28. Bye for now.

© 2020 Ron Robins, Investing for the Soul.

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