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Published on February 25th, 2019 | by Andrea Bertoli


Carbon Clean 200: The Companies Leading us to a Clean Energy Future

February 25th, 2019 by  

As You Sow and Corporate Knights released today its sixth update of the Carbon Clean 200™, a list of the 200 publicly traded companies that are leading the way among their global peers to a clean energy future.

Key findings include:

  • Clean200 outperformed the S&P Global 1200 Energy Index with a return of 1.29 percent and lagged behind the broad-market benchmark for the S&P 1200, mostly due to the impact of the simmering trade war between China and the U.S.
  • If Chinese stocks are excluded from the Clean200, its return since implementation jumps to 20.4 percent.
  • The top 10 Clean200 companies — based on the amount of absolute revenue they earned from low-carbon products and services for the six-month period ending Dec. 31, 2018 and using updated methodology — are: Alphabet Inc (1st), Siemens AG (2nd), Toyota Motor Corporation (3rd), Cisco Systems (4th), HP (5th), Taiwan Semiconductor (6th), Abb Ltd (7th), Ericsson (8th), Unilever (9th), and Banco Do Brasil S.A. (10th).

Since its inception in July 2016, the Clean200™ has outperformed the S&P Global 1200 Energy Index with a return of 1.29 percent compared to -2.49 percent. It is lagging behind the broad-market benchmark for the S&P 1200 which had a return of 19.67 percent, mostly due to the impact of the simmering trade war between China and the U.S,

If Chinese stocks are excluded from the Clean200, its return since implementation jumps to 20.4 percent, moving it ahead of the broad-market benchmark as well (which has almost no exposure — 1.7 percent — to Chinese stocks). The Clean200 therefore continues to provide evidence that market forces are driving growth for low-carbon companies across all sectors of the economy.

It is not surprising that the low-carbon leaders from China faltered, as Chinese stocks had their worst year in a decade. While stock markets suffered losses across the board last year, the Shanghai composite (Mainland China’s primary market indicator) lost 24.6 percent of its value, and the Shenzhen composite plummeted 33.25 percent.

“Normally, during periods of stock market decline, defensive stocks outperform and higher growth stocks underperform,” said Toby Heaps, CEO of Corporate Knights and report co-author. “The Clean200 is overweight on growth companies and underweight on defensive stocks, with no exposure to weapons, tobacco, or healthcare. But it has still continued to outperform when the outlying Chinese stocks are excluded. This suggests markets are re-calibrating the value of stocks such as clean energy, that offer a superior and enduring value proposition in a low-carbon economy.”

The Clean200 methodology was updated this year — using the Corporate Knights Clean Revenue database — to capture portions of the clean economy extending beyond energy efficiency, green energy, and zero emission and hybrid vehicles. The companies assessed now include: banks financing low-carbon solutions; real estate companies focused on low-carbon buildings; forestry companies protecting carbon sinks; responsible miners of critical materials for the low carbon economy; food and apparel companies with products primarily made of raw materials with a significantly lower carbon footprint; and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies that are leading the way on renewable energy while also being best-in-sector according to currently accepted privacy benchmarks. This resulted in a relatively high turnover, with 87 new companies added from the last update on July 1, 2018.

The company topping the 2019 Q1 Carbon Clean 200 list is from within this expanded sectoral coverage. Alphabet, the holding company for Google, has invested billions of dollars over the past few years to meet its 100 percent renewable energy target, and is ranked the cleanest-of-the-clean on this basis.

“It matters a lot what kind of energy ICT companies choose because they are projected to account for 20 percent of global electricity consumption by 2025,” said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow and report co-author. “The carbon impact of Google going 100 percent renewable is equivalent to taking one million cars off the road permanently. We challenge all ICT companies to do the same and to focus on the privacy issues which have become a threat to their business model.”

As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies.

Corporate Knights is a research and media B Corp that seeks to provide information that empowers people to harness markets for a better world.

**As You Sow, Corporate Knights, and CleanTechnica are not investment advisors nor do we provide financial planning, legal, or tax advice. Nothing in the Carbon Clean 200 Report shall constitute or be construed as an offering of financial instruments or as investment advice or investment recommendations.** 

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About the Author

I'm an experienced marketing and sales professional focused on mission-driven businesses, and currently I manage Sales and Partnerships for CleanTechnica. I'm also a journalist, green investor, wellness educator, surfer, and yogi. Find delicious food and wellness stuff on my Instagram @VibrantWellness.

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