(The following is from an article that appears in USA Today Green Living.)
Terrific news: green investing is easy, good for the earth and fun! So says Harris Roen, a seasoned green investing expert at RoenReport.com. In an interview with reporter Craig Shields, Roen reveals easy ways to harmonize your morals and your money.
Q: What is ‘Green Investing’?
A: It’s a way to own a piece of companies in the business of sustainability.
What kind of companies are these?
Green companies are spread across a wide range of investment sectors, including solar, wind, smart grid, energy efficiency, alternative fuel and environmental companies. Some are large conglomerates, like GE and Johnson Controls, where alternative energy is a small but important part of what they do. Others are “pure play” companies such as First Solar and Tesla Motors, which are solely focused on a green industry.
Where do you see opportunities?
Energy efficiency is one. It is much cheaper to save a watt than to generate one, and many companies are making profits doing just that. Another trend is offshore wind. There is a big project in the pipeline off the northeast coast, and no doubt more are coming.
How risky is it?
I take a long-term perspective on green investing, and believe that sectors like solar, wind, smart grid and energy efficiency are growth industries. Any investment comes with risk, though, so invest responsibly. For example, in a volatile sector such as solar it is challenging to pick individual winners and losers, so a good strategy is to diversify across several companies. An easy way to do this is through alternative energy mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs).
How much money do I need to start?
Depending on the broker or mutual fund you choose, you can start with as little as $50. A good plan is to regularly invest a part of your savings on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Where do I get started?
A little research can go a long way. At RoenReport.com, you can readily find highly ranked stocks, mutual funds and ETFs within green investing sectors. It’s fun to learn what these companies do, and you’ll feel good aligning your investments with your ethics.