Podcast: The World’s Most Ethical Companies

Podcast: The World’s Most Ethical Companies

The World’s Most Ethical Companies podcast includes these articles: “The 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies®,” by Ethisphere; “Top 10: Brands for Diverse Corporate Social Responsibility,” by Tom Swallow; and “12 Best Renewable Energy Stocks to Buy Now,” by Fahad Saleem. Find a full transcript, links to content, including stock symbols and bonus material here. Plus

Transcript & Links, Episode 102, March 24, 2023

Ron Robins, MBA

Hello, Ron Robins here. Welcome to podcast episode 102 and published on March 24, 2023, titled “The World’s Most Ethical Companies.” It’s presented by Investing for the Soul. Investingforthesoul.com is your site for vital global ethical and sustainable investing mentoring, news, commentary, information, and resources.

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

Now if any terms are unfamiliar to you, simply Google them.

Also, a reminder. I do not evaluate any of the stocks or funds mentioned in these podcasts, nor do I receive any compensation from anyone covered in these podcasts. Furthermore, I will reveal to you any personal investments I have in the investments mentioned herein.

Additionally, quotes about individual companies are brief so that I can get as many companies covered as possible in the time allowed. Please go to this podcast’s webpage for links to the actual articles for more company and stock information. Also, some companies might be covered more than once and there are also 4 article links below that time didn’t allow me to review them here.


The World’s Most Ethical Companies

I’m going to start with a great ranking analysis titled The 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies® The most frequent companies to appear on the list at 17 times are Aflac Incorporated, Ecolab, International Paper, Kao, Milliken & Company, and PepsiCo, Inc. If there is a weakness in this list it’s that the companies have to apply to be rated. Hence, this process could leave out some great companies.

Here are some quotes from their website.

“At the heart of the evaluation and selection process for the World’s Most Ethical Companies® is Ethisphere’s proprietary rating system, the corporate Ethics Quotient (EQ). The EQ framework features more than 200 multiple-choice and text questions that capture a company’s performance in an objective, consistent, and standardized way.

In 2023, 135 organizations are recognized for their unwavering commitment to business integrity.

The honorees span 19 countries and 46 industries, and include 8 first-time honorees.” End quotes.


Top 10: Brands for Diverse Corporate Social Responsibility

Next is this article titled Top 10: Brands for Diverse Corporate Social Responsibility by Tom Swallow on sustainabilitymag.com. Though not strictly investment recommendations, this list will appeal to many listeners of this podcast. Here are some comments by Mr. Swallow on each of his chosen brands.

“To highlight the diverse approaches to corporate social responsibility (CSR) we’re looking at some of the leading organisations for both their commitments and innovative stance on developing business sustainably…

10. Bosch (BOSCHLTD.BO)

Backing climate-neutrality, Bosch is a major provider of high-quality, reliable electronics, along with other solutions to support sustainable developments. The company is committed to reducing emissions both upstream and downstream in its supply chain. 

From an electric vehicle (EV) standpoint, Bosch enables electrification through its electric drive solutions, providing scalable propulsion solutions to the industry.

9. TOMS (private company)

The popular footwear brand, TOMS is built on social impact as the primary mission of the company is to donate a pair of shoes for every new pair sold. 

8. Wells Fargo (WFC)

The financial services organisation, Wells Fargo donates up to 1.5% of its annual revenue to charities—a percentage of revenue that exceeds US$18.7bn. These funds reach more than 14,500 non-profit organisations, including those supporting efforts to provide food, and renewable energy and science development programmes.

7. Pfizer (PFE)

In times of crisis, healthcare assistance is critical, which is where Pfizer provides extensive support through its three pillar strategy to meet corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives. These pillars include donation, grant funding, and providing aid when disaster strikes. 

Such efforts were seen after Hurricane Matthew ripped through Haiti and the ongoing crisis plaguing refugees in Europe and the Middle East.

6. Netflix (NFLX)

The online on-demand streaming platform, Netflix enables relationships by offering its staff members 52 weeks paid parental leave, which can be taken any time within a child’s early years. 

The average technology firm provides parents with 18 weeks paid leave during the maternity/paternity phase.

5. Ford Motor Company (F)

One of the largest automotive brands with heritage dating back to 1903, Ford Motor Company is on a mission to ‘build a better world’ through electrification. One of the key employment mechanisms backed by Ford is pay equity as part of its wider diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy—balancing discrepancies in the pay gap between employees.

4. Coca-Cola Company (KO)

The environment is a primary focus for Coca-Cola Company and one of its most significant adaptations will come from 100% plant-based packaging. In 2021, the business announced the first ever bottle made in this way and has since been refining its product and understanding how it will align with the wider manufacturing process.

3. Starbucks (SBUX)

Representing CSR in the cafe business is Starbucks, which is openly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, in the workforce. 

Starbucks has taken steps to address racial and social inequality by introducing a mentorship scheme designed to link people from black and indigenous backgrounds to senior executives and cultivate partnerships. By 2025, the company hopes to reach its target to achieve 30% black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) representation in corporate roles and 40% in retail and manufacturing.

2. Alphabet (GOOG)

As the parent of Google, Alphabet’s CSR strategy aims to indirectly support communities and address their concerns. However, Google is already well-acquainted with climate strategy and is taking action to reduce the impact of the search engine and supported devices. 

1. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

A leading organisation in the pharmaceutical industry, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) acts as a great example of CSR in action. For more than 30 years, J&J has dedicated many of its efforts to minimising its ecological footprint. 

Its support spans various aspects, including wind energy usage and delivering clean water to communities globally.” End quotes.


12 Best Renewable Energy Stocks to Buy Now

Now back to a popular theme with this article titled 12 Best Renewable Energy Stocks to Buy Now. It’s by Fahad Saleem and was found on news.yahoo.com. Here’s some of what Mr. Saleem has to say about each of his stock picks.

“For this article, we scanned Insider Monkey’s database of 943 hedge funds and picked the top 12 renewable energy stocks. That means these are the most popular renewable energy stocks among the elite hedge funds in the world. With each stock we have mentioned the number of hedge fund investors as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2022.

12. Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 16

Canadian Solar sells solar PV modules… For the fourth quarter, Canadian Solar expects its revenue to come in at $1.97 billion, better than its guidance range of $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion. Analyst consensus estimate for this figure was $1.86 billion.  For the first quarter of 2023, Canadian Solar expects its revenue to come in the range of $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion, which is below the analyst consensus estimate of $2.04 billion.

11. Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE:AGR

Hedge Fund Holders: 18

Avangrid is an energy company serving millions of customers in the US. Avangrid has a strong renewable energy portfolio consisting of wind and solar energy projects…

In February, Avangrid declared a per share dividend of $0.44, in line with the previous dividend. Forward dividend yield at the time came in at 4.34%.

10. SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR)

Hedge Fund Holders: 21

SunPower Corporation makes photovoltaic solar energy generation systems and battery energy storage products, primarily for residential customers. In February, SunPower Corporation posted strong Q4 results that crushed analyst estimates. Adjusted EPS in the quarter came in at $0.15, beating estimates by $0.01. Revenue in the quarter jumped about 43% YoY to reach $497.4 million, beating estimates by $16.4 million.

9. Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ:PLUG)

Hedge Fund Holders: 25

Hydrogen fuel cell company Plug Power is one of the best renewable energy stocks to buy now.

Recently, Citi analyst P.J. Juvekar decreased his price target for Plug Power stock to $20 from $21 but kept a Buy rating on the shares.  The analyst said that Plug Power has a first mover advantage to capture the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act.

8. Clearway Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CWEN)

Hedge Fund Holders: 27

Clearway Energy has significant wind and solar energy operations across 26 states in the US. Clearway Energy has a PE ratio of 5.94 which makes it an attractive option for those looking for undervalued plays in the renewable energy space. In February, Clearway Energy declared a quarterly dividend of $0.3745 per share, which was a 2% increase from its previous dividend. Forward dividend yield at the time came in at 4.48%.

7. Sunnova Energy International Inc. (NYSE:NOVA)

Hedge Fund Holders: 27

Residential solar company Sunnova Energy International… recently posted Q4 results which were better than expected. GAAP EPS in the quarter came in at -$0.18, beating estimates by $0.26. Revenue in the quarter increased by 200.8% to reach $195.6 million, beating estimates by $55.84 million.

6. SolarEdge Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SEDG)

Hedge Fund Holders: 43

Israel-based SolarEdge Technologies… gained about 15% through March 8. SolarEdge Technologies makes solar inverters widely used in the solar energy industry…

In February, SolarEdge Technologies posted strong Q4 results. Adjusted EPS in the quarter came in at $2.86, beating estimates by $1.27. Revenue in the quarter increased by about 61% on a YoY basis to reach $890 million, beating estimates by $11.64 million.

5. First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR)

Hedge Fund Holders: 44

First Solar (stock) jumped earlier this month after UBS upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral with a $250 price target…UBS believes First Solar is ‘the most significant beneficiary’ of the Inflation Reduction Act.

4. Constellation Energy Corporation (NASDAQ:CEG)

Hedge Fund Holders: 51

Baltimore, Maryland-based Constellation Energy… says it’s the largest producer of carbon-free energy in the country. Earlier this month, Constellation Energy Corporation announced that it has started hydrogen production at its Nine Mile Point Nuclear Plant in Oswego, New York.

Alger Capital made the following comment about Constellation Energy Corporation in its Q3 2022 investor letter:

‘Shares outperformed during the third quarter primarily due to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)… the bill provides a nuclear production tax credit of approximately $43.75 per megawatt hour of energy generated. This credit favorably impacted earnings.’

3. NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE)

Hedge Fund Holders: 61

NextEra Energy is one of the most popular renewable energy stocks among elite hedge funds…

In February, NextEra Energy rolled out a 10% increase in its quarterly dividend when it announced a per-share dividend of $0.4675.

2. Enphase Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENPH)

Hedge Fund Holders: 63

Enphase Energy is one of the most versatile renewable energy companies, making several solutions in the industry, including solar micro-inverters, battery energy storage, and EV charging stations for homes.

In late February, Enphase Energy shares jumped after Janney Montgomery analyst Sean Milligan upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral with a $282 price target.

1. Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA)

Hedge Fund Holders: 91

Tesla, Inc. makes it to our list of the best renewable energy stocks because the company’s electric vehicles are playing key role in deploying the renewable energy sources in the auto industry in addition to its Powerwall and solar roof products for homes.

Recently, Jefferies upped its price target for Tesla, Inc. to $230 from $180 and kept a Buy rating on the shares… Jefferies also upped its 2023 and 2024 operating earnings estimates for Tesla, Inc. by 10% and 8%, respectively.” End quotes.


Now some Other Honorable Mentions – no particular order

1) Title: 11 Stocks to Examine Through a Sustainability Lens on morningstar.ca. By Adam Fleck.

Articles From Outside the US

1) UK Title: Six ethical investment IFISAs on p2pfinancenews.co.uk. By Hannah Gannage-Stewart.

2) UK Title: ‘We’ve lost the right to be pessimistic’: Patagonia treads fine line tackling climate crisis as for-profit company on theguardian.com. By Lauren Aratani.

3) UK Title: Could these 3 renewable energy stocks surge as lithium demand grows? Found on uk.finance.yahoo.com. By Christopher Ruane.


Ending Comment

Well, these are my top news stories with their stock and fund tips — for this podcast number 102 titled: “The World’s Most Ethical Companies.”

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Contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you for listening.

Talk to you next on April 7th.

Bye for now.

© 2023 Ron Robins, Investing for the Soul

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