Think Globally, Invest Locally
Want to put your money to work on a local level? Scott Pope, president of Eugene, Oregon's Sustainable Wealth Management, recommends that his clients direct at least 1 percent of their investment money to community investments like "EcoDeposits"green certificates of deposit issued by Ilwaco, Washingtonbased Shorebank Pacific. With a $500 minimum investment, the CDs are offered for six-to-60-month terms; at press time, a $2,500 six-month EcoDeposit offered an annual percentage yield of 3.58 percent. Shorebank, meanwhile, uses CD investors' cash for loans to Oregon and Washington businesses committed to reducing resource consumption or pollution output, as well as for nonprofit environmental- and economic-development projects, such as low-income housing. For more on EcoDeposits, visit...
Don't have $1,200 to $5,000 to invest in a mutual fund? You can buy stock for as little as $20 a share through online brokerages such as eTrade and Ameritrade. If you buy stocks individually, rather than through a mutual fund, you'll end up paying more in commissions and trading fees (as a percentage of your total invested dollars). You'll also lose some of the security that comes with sharing risk with a group of investors. The upside? You're in control; you can buy and sell whenever you wish. (Just make sure you pay close attention to your positions.) We asked our panel of green financial experts to call out some stocks they own themselves and like enough to recommend. As you'll see, even long-established companies in more traditional industries can be considered "green" if they're operating with the environment in mind. The smaller, newer companies on the picks list are more focused on eco-specific products and services. If you're willing to take on greater risk in exchange for a chance at higher gains, these may be the stocks for you.
SMART PICKS: GREEN STOCKS
1. Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) "We like software companies like Adobe, whose Acrobat Readers help minimize paper usagethat's good for the environment," says Carsten Henningsen, of the Portfolio 21 mutual fund. Market cap: $18.95 billion Share price at press time: $32.72, up 19.6% over 12 months.
2. aQuantive Inc. (AQNT) This nine-year-old Seattle-based company is a global leader in online marketing. "We believe that everything we move off of paper is green," says Winslow Fund's Patsky. Market cap: $1.85 billion Share price: $24.01, up 24.4% over 12 months.
3. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (gmcr) "Great company, solid performance," says Scott Pope, of Sustainable Wealth Management. Founded in 1981 in Vermont, it was one of the first coffee retailers to promote sustainable agriculture in Latin America by selling Fair Trade organic coffee. Market cap: $285 million Share price: $37.64, up 3.1% over 12 months.
4. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) "HP is a recognized leader in areas like waste reduction, with more than 400 different products that meet EnergyStar guidelines," says investment adviser Scott Pope, of Sustainable Wealth Management. Market cap: $100 billion Share price: $35.84, up 32.9% over 12 months.
5. IBM (IBM) Portfolio 21's largest holdings, says Henningsen, are in IBM, "a big, traditional company that's doing great things in terms of making its products more energy efficient and recyclable." Market cap: $122 billion Share price: $80.28, up 0.3% over 12 months.