Podcast: Best ESG Funds and Stocks

Podcast: Best ESG Funds and Stocks

This podcast includes these articles: “The Best ESG Funds Of 2023,” by Barbara Friedberg; “5 Best ESG Stocks to Consider in April 2023,” by Benzinga; “Climate Change Stocks – How Investors Can Profit From The Green Revolution,” by Q.ai; and “Five Top Graphite Stocks to Own with the EV Boom,” by Baystreet Staff. And more.

Transcript & Links, Episode 103, April 7, 2023

Ron Robins, MBA

Hello, Ron Robins here. Welcome to podcast episode 103 and published on April 7, 2023, titled “Best ESG Funds and Stocks.” 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 2 article links below that time didn’t allow me to review them here.


1) Best ESG Funds and Stocks

It’s been a while since I led off talking about ESG funds. So let’s amend that now with this article titled The Best ESG Funds Of 2023. It’s by Barbara Friedberg and found on forbes.com. Here are some of what Ms. Friedberg says about her picks.

“Forbes Advisor has selected what we believe to be the best ESG funds available in the market today…

We began our hunt by paring Morningstar’s master list to 140 funds by excluding options that required minimum initial investments of more than $5,000. Also, we eliminated funds that did not lend themselves to the creation of a well-diversified mix of stock and fixed income investments…

We then screened out any funds with an annual expense ratio that was above 0.60%. For diversity, we selected passively managed as well as actively managed portfolios.

To meet the requirements of a very broad audience, so we deliberately excluded narrowly focused sector funds, geographically specialized funds and age group-specific target date funds. These screens left us with 18 choices.

The final list of the eight best ESG funds includes broadly diversified choices that are suitable for the widest possible group of investors. We included short and core fixed-income funds along with U.S. and international ESG equity funds. You might create an entire ESG portfolio from funds on the list or add a few to an existing investment portfolio.”

  1. Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF (ESGV)
  2. Pimco Enhanced Short Maturity Active ESG ETF (EMNT)
  3. Nuveen ESG Dividend ETF (NUDV)
  4. iShares MSCI Global Sustainable Developmental Goals ETF (SDG)
  5. Fidelity U.S. Sustainability Index Fund (FITLX)
  6. Fidelity International Sustainability Index Fund (FNIDX)
  7. Calvert US Mid Cap Core Responsible Index Fund (CMJAX)
  8. BlackRock Sustainable Advantage CoreAlpha Bond Fund (BIAAX)

End quotes.


2) Best ESG Funds and Stocks

Now, from the best ESG funds to the best ESG stocks with this article titled 5 Best ESG Stocks to Consider in April 2023. It’s by Benzinga and found on benzinga.com. Here are their recommendations with some quotes on each one.

1. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

The company is organized into three segments, including productivity and business processes (which includes Microsoft Office, Skype, SharePoint and Office 365) (and) cloud infrastructure and platform-as-a-service offering. The last segment is personal computing including Xbox, Bing search, display advertising, laptops and desktops. 


The firms’ chips are used in a variety of end markets such as high-end PCs for gaming, data centers, and automotive infotainment systems. 

More recently, the firm has diversified its focus from traditional PC to more complex sectors such as artificial intelligence and autonomous driving. These sectors increasingly leverage high-performance capabilities in graphics processing units. 

3. Salesforce (NYSE:CRM)

Salesforce.com provides enterprise cloud computing solutions, including Sales Cloud, the company’s main customer relationship management software-as-a-service product. 

Salesforce.com also offers Service Cloud for customer support (and) Marketing Cloud for digital marketing campaigns and Commerce Cloud as an e-commerce engine. Its Salesforce Platform allows enterprises to build applications, and other solutions, such as data integration.

4. Accenture (NYSE:ACN)

Accenture is a leading global IT services firm that provides consulting, strategy, and technology and operational services. These services are the anchor of successful enterprises and cover digital transformation, procurement services and software system integration. 

The company provides its IT offerings to a number of sectors ranging from communications, media and technology as well as financial services, healthcare and consumer products.

5. Best Buy Co (NYSE:BBY)

Best Buy is the largest pure-play consumer electronics retailer in the U.S., with over $47 billion in 2020 sales alone. This was driven by its 10% share of the aggregate market and nearly 40% share of offline sales, according to Benzinga, CTA industry and Euromonitor data. The bulk of the firm’s sales are driven by mobile phones, computers, tablets, computers and appliances, which represent its three largest categories. 

Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. e-commerce channel has roughly doubled from pre-pandemic levels, with management estimating that it will represent a mid-30% proportion of sales moving forward.” End quotes.


3) Best ESG Funds and Stocks

And now to a listener’s favorite sector with this title Climate Change Stocks – How Investors Can Profit From The Green Revolution. By Q.ai on forbes.com. Here are their stock picks and some of their comments on each one.

“Here are some examples of some of the most popular investments in this space…


1. Tesla (TSLA)

While electric vehicles are much more widespread now, much of that is thanks to the efforts of Elon Musk and Tesla, who popularized it from quirk to the mainstream.

Tesla stock isn’t for the faint hearted, with the eccentric billionaire CEO causing wild swings in the price with crazy tweets and ideas. Nevertheless, so far it’s been a great long term bet for many investors as the stock is up over 850% over the past five years.

2. First Solar (FSLR)

Based out of Arizona, First Solar is one of the largest manufacturers of solar panels. Their panels are used in solar farms whose sole purpose is to generate electricity for the grid, but solar tech is also used in a wide range of other applications too…

First Solar’s stock price is up almost 200% over the past five years.

3. Enphase Energy (ENPH)

Where First Solar helps create renewable energy and Tesla uses it, Enphase Energy acts as the middleman. They create battery systems and electric vehicle charging stations, that allows this to be used functionally in our day to day lives.

While Enphase charging stations are attached to the electricity grid, which isn’t solely powered by renewable energy, it’s a vital piece in the chain to make electric vehicles more usable.

Enphase Energy stock is up a whopping 4,220% over the last five years.

4. Vestas Wind Systems (VWS.CO)

Even before electricity was invented, humans harnessed wind to power our ships and windmills to run agricultural machinery. Wind farms from Vesta Wind Systems are a lot more complex these days, but the basic concept remains the same.

It’s another winner from a financial point of view, with Vestas stock up 115% over the past five years.

If you’re looking for a broader level of diversification and want to invest in clean energy via ETFs, there are some great options for investors.

Some examples include:

1. First Trust NASDAQ® Clean Edge® Green Energy Index Fund (QCLN)

This fund aims to broadly mimic the NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index… by investing in green energy companies. Some of the largest holdings in the fund include companies like ON Semiconductor, Tesla, First Solar, SolarEdge, Albermarle, Rivian and Plug Power.

2. iShares Global Clean Energy UCITS ETF (IQQH.DE)

This ETF has a similar objective, but instead aims to benchmark against the S&P Global Clean Energy Index. Some of the major holdings in the fund include Vestas Wind Systems, First Solar, Plug Power and Consolidated Edison.” End quotes.


4) Best ESG Funds and Stocks

Continuing in a related field to energy is this article titled Top of Form

Five Top Graphite Stocks to Own with the EV Boom. It’s on baystreet.ca and by Baystreet Staff. Here is some of what is in the article. Quote.

“With the electric vehicle market accelerating, investors may want to pay close attention to the graphite market,’ Andrew Miller, chief operating officer at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, (is) quoted by InvestingNews.com (as saying). ‘We’re now projecting that by the end of next year, batteries will be the number one leading market for graphite.’… In addition, to meet rising demand, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence estimates that up to 150 new operations across natural and synthetic graphite are needed by 2035. That’s creating big opportunity for natural graphite companies… (and) beneficial for (some) vehicle stocks.

1. Infinity Stone Ventures Corp. (CSE: GEMS) (OTC: GEMSF)

Announced the formation of a new wholly-owned subsidiary, AirCarbon Technology Corp., to develop the Rockstone Graphite Project. The Company has also entered into a partnership with R&D Innovation Inc. to use their patent-pending and proprietary air classification separation technology to process samples from the Rockstone Graphite Project. The Air Classification System eliminates the need for flotation, chemicals and drying in the graphite milling process and greatly reduces the capital costs for a traditional graphite mill. It has also been designed to eliminate the need for tailing ponds and greatly lessen the need for significant infrastructure at a mine site…

‘We firmly believe that graphite is being overlooked in the market, considering its critical position in the battery metal supply chain… said Zayn Kalyan, CEO and Director of Infinity Stone.

2. Volkswagen (VWAGY)

Just announced that it is stepping up its activities in North America in a bid to take a strong position in this important growth market for battery electric vehicles. The Group and its battery company PowerCo have selected St. Thomas in Ontario, Canada, to establish Volkswagen’s first overseas gigafactory for cell manufacturing, which will produce sustainable unified cells, start of production is planned for 2027…

3. Graphite One Inc. (GPHOF)

Is planning a complete domestic U.S. supply chain for advanced graphite materials, is pleased to announce drill results from its 2022 Field Program at its Graphite Creek Property (in Alaska) … Graphite Creek is living up to its designation by the US Geological Survey as the largest and highest grade graphite resource in the United States.

4. NextSource Materials Inc. (NEXT.TO)

(Has) announced that construction of the processing plant and mining camp for the Company’s Molo Graphite Mine in Madagascar is now complete, and that the entire mining fleet is at site. President and CEO, Craig Scherba, commented: ‘We are now entering the final stages of development of Phase 1 and are fast approaching first production.’

5. Tesla (TSLA)

In the fourth quarter, it produced over 439,000 vehicles and delivered over 405,000 vehicles. In 2022, vehicle deliveries grew 40% YoY to 1.31 million while production grew 47% YoY to 1.37 million. The company also continued to transition towards a more even regional mix of vehicle builds which again led to a further increase in cars in transit at the end of the quarter.” End quotes. It seems a little strange having Tesla here but I guess Tesla must have some relationship with its battery production.


Now one Other Honorable Mention

1. Title: Texas Instruments a Top Socially Responsible Dividend Stock With 2.8% Yield (TXN) on nasdaq.com. By BNK Invest.

One article from Outside the US

1. UK Title: Top 10 ethical financial advisers in 2023 on good-with-money.com. By Lori Campbell.


Ending Comment

Well, these are my top news stories with their stock and fund tips — for this podcast titled: “Best ESG Funds and Stocks.”

Now, please be sure to click the like and subscribe buttons on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you download or listen to this podcast. That helps bring these podcasts to others like you.

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Contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you for listening.

Talk to you next on April 21st.

Bye for now.

© 2023 Ron Robins, Investing for the Soul

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