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ETFs for a Green Portfolio on Earth Day

Sanghamitra Saha

Tomorrow will mark the 47th year of Earth Day observations. The day honors the importance of conservation initiatives to protect the environment. Global warming has now become a burning issue, raising awareness among mankind. 

March smashed the new global warming record despite no presence of the El Nino effect, as per an article published on Independent. So long it was presumed that global warming leads to climate change causing drought in one region and flood in others. But as an eye-opener, economists have come up with the theory that global warming can “cause job losses, recessions and even a tumbling stock market.” 

But should just saving the climate be our only goal? Isn’t it better to have a look at the other corners of the society and enhance the standard of living too?

This makes it all the more important for investors to be socially responsive while creating their investment portfolio. Let’s take a look what’s hot and what’s not on the occasion of Earth Day (read: Sustainable Investing: What Is It and Why Is It Hot Now?).

Low Carbon ETFs

Fighting the perilous outcome of greenhouse gases by building a low-carbon economy has lately become a global chore. As a result, low-carbon ETFs have caught investors’ attention. Investors can play this trend by targeting low carbon ETFs like iShares MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF (CRBN) and SPDR MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF LOWC.

CRBN provides investors’ global exposure to companies that are less dependent on fossil fuels. American firms account for half of the portfolio while other countries like Japan, United Kingdom and Canada receive single-digit exposure each. For LOWC too the U.S. is the top country with about half exposure (read: VanEck Vectors Introduces Green Bond ETF).

Another fundEtho Climate Leadership U.S. ETF ETHO offers exposure to companies with the most climate-efficient profiles within their respective industries.  

While these low-carbon ETFs complement Earth Day vows, coal-focused ETF VanEck Vectors Coal ETF KOL is not a favorable investment option on this occasion (read: Can Coal ETFs Pick Up Steam in 2017?).

Clean Energy ETFs

It would be imprudent if we do not discuss clean energy ETFs today. In spite of President Trump’s push toward fossil-fuel, clean investing is here to stay considering its global acceptance.  In 2015, as many as 195 countries inked a historic agreement on climate change in Paris. The moto of the deal was to restrain the rise in average global temperature to under 1.5 degrees Celsius  (read: Fight Global Warming with These ETFs).

In this vein, investors can consider a few clean energy ETFs like VanEck Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF GEX, iShares Global Clean Energy ETF ICLN and First Trust ISE Global Wind Energy Index Fund FAN.

GEX has about half exposure in the U.S., while ICLN is heavy on China (28.23%) and the U.S. (26.66%). ICLN’s major sectors are Renewable Electricity, Heavy Electrical Equipment, Semiconductor Equipment and Environmental & Facilities Services. Wind energy ETF is highly focused on Spain (25.5%) followed by Denmark (14.4%) and Germany (13.7%).

Investors can also consider PowerShares Cleantech Portfolio ETF PZD, which is made up of clean technology (or cleantech) companies’ stocks. The fund is heavy on the U.S. (55.7%) followed by Switzerland (7.2%). Industrials has about 56% exposure in the fund.

ESG-Weighted ETFs

Since the overall wellbeing of this planet should be remembered on this occasion, a focus on ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing should be pivotal. As per data by Morningstar, 70% of all investors are interested in socially responsible investing, while more than 80% of millennials intend to be socially responsible while making investment decisions. This indicates the rising popularity of the investing theme (read: Guide to Socially Responsible ETFs).

FlexShares STOXX Global ESG Impact Index Fund ESGG, Columbia Sustainable Global Equity Income ETF ESGW andthe new SerenityShares IMPACT ETF ICAN fit the bill. Most of these funds have a broader perspective and include educational infrastructure, climate change, recycling of waste materials, safety and healthy environment to name a few.

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