Green Investments, Green Returns: 11 Eco-Friendly ETFs to Consider

Green Investments, Green Returns: 11 Eco-Friendly ETFs to Consider

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Looking for green investments? Eco-friendly ETFs can diversify your portfolio and even help the environment. 

The US has come along way since the oil crisis in 1973. Back then, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) declared an embargo on all exports of oil to the US. 

And even though that one event lasted just a few months, over the following years the US has dealt with volatile oil prices and increasing demand from consumers. Not to mention the elephant in the room – climate change.

Read more: Responsible Investing: Is Your Portfolio Melting the Polar Caps?

Now we could tell you to swap your car for a bicycle, only buy and eat locally produced food, and never fly off to Hawaii again. But we're here to give you investing ideas, so let's consider a topic we don't cover very often: exchange traded funds.

ETFs for short, these funds give investors exposure to a range of equities – in our case mostly stocks – without purchasing them individually. Similar to an index, an ETF can track a particular set of stocks. And ETFs typically come with associated fees and expenses that are cheaper than more traditional mutual funds.

For the list below, we gathered ETFs that relate to green investing in some way, including:

  • Clean energy sources like wind and solar power
  • Clean technology like smarter power grids
  • Environmental services companies

To help investors differentiate between these options, we ranked them starting with the best performer over the last quarter. Quarterly performance above 20% is typically seen as a sign of outperforming the market.

Click on the interactive chart below to see data for our top three performing green ETFs over time. 

Do you consider the environment when selecting ETFs? Use the list below as a starting point for your own analysis. 

1. Guggenheim Solar (TAN, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks investment results that correspond generally to the performance, before the Fund's fees and expenses, of an equity index called the MAC Global Solar Energy Index. Market cap at $293.1M, most recent closing price at $37.35.

Performance over the last quarter: 34.94%.
 

 

2. Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (KWT, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks to normally invest at least 80% of its total assets in equity securities, which may include depositary receipts, of U.S. and foreign companies primarily engaged in the production and distribution of solar power. Market cap at $21.0M, most recent closing price at $70.00.

Performance over the last quarter: 27.58%.
 

 

3. First Trust Global Wind Energy (FAN, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield of the ISE Global Wind Energy Index. Market cap at $68.1M, most recent closing price at $10.89.

Performance over the last quarter: 23.41%.
 

 

4. PowerShares Global Clean Energy (PBD, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield of the ISE Global Wind Energy Index. Market cap at $68.1M, most recent closing price at $10.89.

Performance over the last quarter: 23.41%.
 

 

5. iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index (ICLN, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the S&P Global Clean Energy Index. Market cap at $44.8M, most recent closing price at $10.66.

Performance over the last quarter: 14.67%.
 

 

6. Market Vectors Glb Alternatve Energy ETF (GEX, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the Ardour Global IndexSM-(Extra Liquid). Market cap at $94.2M, most recent closing price at $56.00.

Performance over the last quarter: 12.66%.
 

 

7. PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (PBW, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield of an equity index called the WilderHill Clean Energy Index by investing at least 80% of its total assets in common stocks of companies engaged in the business of the advancement of cleaner energy and conservation. Market cap at $216.5M, most recent closing price at $6.63.

Performance over the last quarter: 11.9%.
 

 

8. PowerShares Cleantech (PZD, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks investment results that correspond to the Cleantech Index. The Fund will normally invest at least 80% of its total assets in common stocks of cleantech companies. Market cap at $76.2M, most recent closing price at $29.30.

Performance over the last quarter: 9.23%.
 

 

9. First Trust NASDAQ Cln Edg Green En Idx (QCLN, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield of an equity index called the NASDAQ Clean Edge U.S. Liquid Series Index. Market cap at $32.0M, most recent closing price at $17.30.

Performance over the last quarter: 8.89%.
 

 

10. Market Vectors Environmental Svcs ETF (EVX, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks to replicate as closely as possible the price and yield performance of the Amex Environmental Services Index. Market cap at $19.1M, most recent closing price at $63.57.

Performance over the last quarter: 6.79%.
 

 

11. First Trust NASDAQ Cln Edge Smrt Grd Inf (GRID, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield of the NASDAQ OMX Clean Edge Smart Grid Infrastructure Index. Market cap at $12.2M, most recent closing price at $34.74.

Performance over the last quarter: 5.52%.
 

 

 

(List compiled by Emily Smykal. Price data sourced from Zacks Investment Research, all other data sourced from Finviz.)

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