In this line of work, I encounter investors of all kinds. When it comes to taking environmental matters under consideration, I've seen some who will invest in a stock primarily on that basis, but more commonly I find that the environmental achievements of public companies tend to fall on deaf ears.
I believe a happy medium lies somewhere in the mix. Selecting a stock primarily on the basis of ecological karma or visions for a shrinking human carbon footprint can feel peachy... until harsh economic reality sets in. I do hope for a tomorrow where renewable energy drives a more sustainable way forward, but my own painful experience with a (former) pet solar stock serves as a constant reminder that hope does not typically form a solid foundation for an investment thesis. The following one-year chart depicts the recent performance of the PowerShares Wilderhill Clean Energy Portfolio
Making sure that green makes you green
While illustrating how quickly green investing can put you in the red, the above chart also shows how a happy medium of combining an environmentally sensitive corporate ethos with powerful economic fundamentals can help ensure that going green makes you some green. I have touted Waste Management
And ever since railroad operator Norfolk Southern
The greenest locomotive
All of the North American railroads have done a terrific job revolutionizing fuel efficiency and upgrading their respective fleets while defending profitability through a challenging economic cycle. I am in awe of their collective operational achievements. By leading the charge toward hybrid locomotives and now renewable diesel fuel -- and also through the company's effort to plant more than 6 million trees in the Mississippi Delta -- I believe Norfolk Southern has set the industry standard with respect to environmental stewardship while remaining an absolute stud of meaningful profitability. By selecting the greenest locomotive, I believe investors can keep their ethical priorities intact without sacrificing the other sort of green.