If you’re concerned about climate change, stock investing might not seem like an obvious solution. But thousands of companies around the world are helping to improve the environment — and some of them also happen to be publicly traded.
This creates an opportunity for investors interested in buying stocks that tackle the effects of climate change — and trust me, it’s a huge opportunity.
The energy company Brookfield Renewable Partners, which I’ll talk more about later, estimates that decarbonization spending will surpass $100 trillion over the next thirty years.
Even if you’re less inclined to believe the worst-case scenarios for climate change, it’s difficult to overlook the amount of time and money governments around the world are spending to address this issue.
To find some of the best companies — and potentially good investments — that are focusing their efforts to fight climate change, take a look at the seven companies below.
7 Best Climate Change Stocks:
- Energy Recovery
- Brookfield Renewable Partners
- First Solar
- Generac Holdings
- Ford Motor Co.
- NextEra Energy
1. Energy Recovery (NASDAQ: ERII)
Market Cap: 0
Along with rising global temperatures, environmental scientists are concerned about climate change’s negative impact on the worldwide water supply. Factor in industrialization and population growth, and the United Nations estimates that there will be a 30% increase in demand for water by 2050.
Although more than 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, there’s a problem: Less than 1% of it is fit to drink. Desalination turns salty seawater into drinkable fresh water. But the process takes a huge environmental toll.
Desalination requires a lot of energy. And most desalination plants depend on fossil fuels to run.
Energy Recovery is helping to solve this problem with products that make the seawater desalination process more efficient and environmentally sustainable. The company’s pressure exchange technology reduces energy consumption for desalination systems by up to 60% and doesn’t emit any emissions when operating.
The Middle East is Energy Recovery’s most active market right now. But the company recently reports that it sees huge opportunities in China, too. The Chinese government’s new environmental action plan calls for a 75% increase in desalination capacity.
Energy Recovery’s total revenue fell 24% in the first half of 2021 due to a licensing agreement that has now ended. But investors may want to focus more on the company’s product revenue segment, which surged 30% over the same period.
Energy Recovery’s share price has been a bit erratic over the past six months. But if you zoom out over the past three years, you’ll see that its stock has spiked 144%.
There’s no guarantee the stock will continue to post similar returns. But climate change investors looking for a long-term water desalination play may want to put Energy Recovery on their list.
2. Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE: BEP)(NYSE: BEPC)
Market Cap: 0
As I mentioned earlier, Brookfield estimates that over the next three decades, companies and governments worldwide will spend more than $100 trillion to reach their decarbonization goals.
First of all, that’s a ton of money being spent to fight climate change. And secondly, this spending opens up lots of opportunities for Brookfield and other energy companies.
According to the company, “2020 saw increasing momentum among some of the largest carbon-emitting governments to adopt ambitious climate plans and targets.”
All of this is good news for Brookfield, which has its hands in a number of renewable energy sources, including hydroelectric — its largest group of energy assets — wind, and solar plants, as well as energy storage. In total, the company has more than 6,000 renewable energy-generating facilities.
Why is it so important for Brookfield and other energy companies to focus their attention on renewables? Because the company says that over 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions can be traced back to the power generation and energy sector.
The company’s renewable energy facilities are already having a tremendously positive impact on the environment, reducing 56 million tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) emissions each year.
3. First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR)
Market Cap: 0
First Solar has been in the solar panel-making business for more than two decades. The company’s innovative approach to panel manufacturing has made the company a leader in this space.
First Solar hasn’t exactly had it easy in the solar market over the past few years. Lower-priced solar panels coming from China have weighed down the company. But First Solar is answering that problem with a massive increase in production capacity.
The company recently said that it will spend more than $1 billion to increase manufacturing capacity through two large facilities. This investment will help the company more than double its current capacity over the next several years.
Solar energy is a key element in helping to alleviate the effects of climate change, and First Solar’s panels are part of the equation. The solar industry is still in flux. But with demand for panels continuing to increase, long-term investors still have an opportunity to benefit from this fast-growing industry.
4. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)
Market Cap: 0
Wait, what? I know it may seem weird to have one of the world’s largest technology companies on a climate change stock list. But who said climate change stocks have to be energy stocks?
The fact is that Microsoft has made some huge commitments to reducing and offsetting its current — and past! — carbon footprint. What’s more, the company is already making big moves to see them through.
First, Microsoft wants to be carbon negative — meaning it removes more carbon from the environment than it emits — by 2030. But the company also has big plans to remove all the carbon it has produced since Microsoft was founded by 2050.
That’s a massive undertaking, and it starts with Microsoft reaching its goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2025.
Just one year into the company’s goals, Microsoft said that it had already reduced its carbon emissions by 6% and purchased the removal of 1.3 million metric tons of carbon.
The company also has the very ambitious goals of becoming a zero-waste company by 2030 by making its Surface products 100% recyclable, eliminating single-use packaging, and making 90% of its servers and components at Microsoft regional data centers reusable.
Microsoft is the second-largest clean energy producer and has also been a fantastic tech investment, with its share price climbing 216% over the past three years.
5. Generac Holdings (NYSE: GNRC)
Market Cap: 0
Storms, wildfires, floods, and other major weather events have the potential to knock out the power to homes and businesses for days at a time. And with major weather events increasing in some places around the world, many are turning to power generators to keep their lights on.
That’s where Generac and its line of residential, commercial, and industrial generators comes in. The company offers a wide variety of these products and has also expanded into the clean energy space with battery storage solutions.
Generac’s sales and earnings have been booming this year, with revenue climbing 69% in the first half of 2021, on a year-over-year basis, and gross profit soaring 73%. The increase was due in part to the fact that the shipment of home standby generators almost doubled in the second quarter, compared to 2020.
Generac is also focusing some of its attention on energy management. The company recently announced that it has entered an agreement to buy the smart home thermostat company Ecobee.
Talking about the purchase, Generac’s CEO Aaron Jagdfeld said, “[T]he ability to combine Ecobee’s cutting-edge technologies with Generac’s power generation, energy storage, and energy management devices will allow us to create a clean, efficient, and reliable home energy ecosystem that will… help grid operators meet the challenges of an electrical grid under enormous stress by providing solutions to better balance supply and demand.”
Investors who’ve held Generac’s stock have seen phenomenal results. The company’s share price has skyrocketed 747% over the past three years.
There’s no guarantee that the stock will deliver the same results going forward, but it’s clear that Generac is tapping into a growing demand for backup power generation.
6. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F)
Market Cap: 0
Addressing the effects of climate change will require a concerted effort from some of the world’s largest companies — even the ones that make products that pollute the environment. And that’s why it’s important to have an automaker on this list.
Earlier this year, Ford pledged to spend $30 billion in its transition to electric vehicles (EVs), including a massive $11 billion investment for new facilities to manufacture EV batteries and electric pickup trucks.
The automaker has said that 40-50% of its vehicle volume will be electric by 2030. The company is already moving quickly toward that goal in Europe, where Ford expects its passenger vehicles to be all-electric by 2030.
Additionally, the company has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050 and already has more than 16,000 EV charging stations across North America.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and global semiconductor shortage, Ford’s U.S. vehicle sales have outpaced its domestic rivals for the second straight month. Plus, the company’s share price has more than doubled over the past three years.
7. NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE)
Market Cap: 0
Florida may be one of the most popular states in the U.S. during the winter months, when everyone is looking for sandy beaches and sunny days. But it’s also on the frontlines of climate change.
The Guardian wrote last year that “If scientists are right, the lower third of the state will be underwater by the end of the century.” While it’s notoriously difficult to predict the future, there’s no denying that Florida is facing serious setbacks from climate change.
And to help out the state — and the rest of the country, too — Florida-based NextEra Energy is already implementing renewable energy on a massive scale.
The company has more than 17 gigawatts of wind and solar energy, making it the largest generator of those power sources. But it’s not done yet. NextEra is expanding its renewable power and will increase that figure by 1.5 times by 2024.
Florida Power & Light (FPL), a subsidiary of NextEra, is in the middle of “one of the largest solar expansions in the United States” with its 30-by-30 initiative, in which the company will install 30 million solar panels by 2030. The company is already well on its way, with 40% of the panels already installed as of mid-2021.
Of course, NextEra won’t be able to reverse any negative effects of climate change in Florida all on its own. But the company’s focus on renewable energy has been a big step in the right direction for the state. It’s also benefited its investors — the company’s share price has more than doubled over the past three years.
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