Corporate Sustainability

Written By Nick Hodge

Posted July 29, 2009

What happens when the biggest retail, technology, and software giants ‘go green?’

For starters, it brings validation to an entire industry that, until recently, was marginalized and demeaned while inaccurately being touted as bad for big business.

"It costs too much," was the argument. . . "This’ll never catch on," was the argument. . . "It’s not even necessary," was, perhaps, a worse argument.

The arguments were many. . .

But now, what do we see?

The corporate and industrial giants are greening their supply chain, using renewable energy, employing more sustainable practices, and spending millions to tell the public about it.


For the exact opposite reasons that were once used to decry clean and alternative techniques.

Because now turning green is seen as a long-term cost saver.  Because now it’s catching on in a big way.  Because now it’s very necessary to hedge against the volatile prices and growing scarcity of traditional fuels.

And not only that, but it’s turning hefty profits for those willing to pay attention.

Everything’s Falling into Profitable Place

A few weeks back, the venerable retail giant and purveyor of low wages, Wal-Mart, made an abrupt announcement.  The largest retailer in the world will soon have a new label placed on the products it sells.  The label, called a sustainability index, will indicate a particular product’s level of eco-friendliness.

CEO Mike Duke said the company will factor in everything from packaging to recycling, taking what he called a "lifecycle" approach.  To do this,  he said Wal-Mart has "dramatically altered internal processes in favor of efficiency and sustainability, and are striving towards greater transparency."

Do you see the impact here?  The place where you go to get discount prices on nearly everything is putting the pressure on suppliers to green their efforts.  

For investors, this means opportunity at nearly every turn — from the companies that will improve efficiency at the factories where products are made, to the companies making greener engines for the trucks that deliver them.

Some of those goods will undoubtedly come from GE, one of the world’s largest conglomerates.  And you know what? They’re pursuing the green angle as well.

They’ve been lobbying Senators hard to get incentives for products they make included in the energy bill that recently passed the House.  According to Reuters, GE hopes to sell new efficient water heaters, driers, and other appliances with the ability to receive information from power utilities about real-time power prices."

We’re talking about the biggest companies in the world — the leaders of business — seeing the writing on the wall.  In order to be a successful investor going forward, you have to see it, too.

And just to complete this circle of industry leaders adopting sustainable practices, FedEx announced last week they’re increasing the hybrid deliver truck fleet by 50%. The new vehicles, according to the press release, "are 44 percent more fuel-efficient than standard FedEx delivery trucks and produce 96 percent fewer particulates and 75 percent fewer smog-causing emissions."

And guess what. . . there are public companies making the batteries for those trucks.  

Bring Me a Higher Love

Can you play this trend by investing in FedEx or Wal-Mart?  Probably not. The key is following the green money trail to its roots, to a higher love.

Readers of the Alternative Energy Speculator have found the higher love over 30 times this year, cashing out of the companies creating this revolution at the rate of nearly one per week.  Was your first-half investing that successful?

Twenty-five or so of those winners were in the double digits.  There’s opportunity at every turn, and it’s staring you right in the face, literally — from the products on the shelves at Wally World to the FedEx trucks circling America’s cul-de-sacs.

So if you’re tired of average investing, average information, and average gains, you need to give this style a shot.  I outperformed the broader market by far in the first half. . . and it’s only going to get easier.

Global governments favor green energy and sustainable practices.  As you saw above, the biggest companies in the world favor green energy and sustainable practices.  And more and more, the most successful investors in the world are favoring green energy and sustainable practices.

And since the market is so young, there is only room to get bigger.  That holds true for the related stocks, as well.

So if you aren’t making this easy money yet, think about it: there must be a higher love.

Good investing,




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