What happened

Shares of Westport Fuel Systems (NASDAQ:WPRT) are rocketing higher today, up 12.4% at 1:50 p.m. EDT -- and not just because it beat earnings last week.

The clean-fuel technology company topped earnings expectations on Friday, reporting a profit where Wall Street had expected a loss. It was its third such quarterly profit in the last four quarters, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Investors like companies that do well, of course. And now, Westport is marketing itself to investors who like companies that do good, too -- investors in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) space -- by publishing its first-ever report on its ESG achievements.  

3 increasingly tall piles of coins with green leaves sprouting from them

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

As CEO David Johnson explained, "Westport Fuel Systems is a purpose-driven organization and our 2019 Report demonstrates our commitment to ESG programs and performance to drive sustainable growth."

In this regard, Westport notes that it has revised its corporate code of conduct to make it "more user-friendly and engaging," created a "metrics-based overview of ethics and compliance training for all employees," installed solar panels at a Dutch facility, reduced its "energy ... intensity," and elected "a gender-balanced Board of Directors in April 2020."

Now what

What does all this mean for Westport in dollars and cents? Perhaps not much, although reduced energy intensity and more solar usage might show up on an income statement in the form of lower energy costs. More important than the financial effects, though, is how the change endears the stock to ESG investors.

ESG has become a popular movement among younger investors. According to research provider ETF Flows, annualized investment in companies that have marketed themselves as sympathetic to ESG concerns is expected to grow 40% this year.

The more of that buying activity that Westport can attract, the more popular its shares could become -- especially now that it's proven itself capable of earning at least the occasional profit.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.