Financial Metrics

The internet has been around a long time, but finding information about green technology and finance on the internet, that’s something new entirely. Take EcoWorld’s “Green Chips” index, for example. Established in 2000, it is possibly the first, and still one of surprisingly few attempts to map publically traded green companies and green funds for investors.

Camino Energy’s “Energy Navigator”
Four new indexes of publically traded
sustainable energy companies

Social responsibility funds in general aggregate companies that embrace many phenomena, of which “green” (itself wildly subjective) is only one of a variety of social benefit criteria.

Along with actual funds, of course, are indexes, and in both cases, in the last 18 months we are seeing a lot more attention being paid to green criteria.

If you restrict your “green” criteria to energy, the scope of the job is narrowed, but no easier, when selecting companies to include in a green energy fund, or green energy index. One new online source, is doing a good job indexing public companies in the green energy space.

As Camino Energy’s CEO Mark Henwood explained, the name of the website, “camino,” or “road” (in English) is chosen to indicate the green path we seek toward having a sustainable energy economy. Along this road, sustainable and clean criteria are overlapping yet distinct attributes, and Camino Energy’s green energy public company indexes target energy companies that are developing sustainable energy, which is, as Henwood puts it “energy technologies that push back the date of energy shortages.”

These are interesting distinctions that highlight the difficulty there is in determining “green” criteria – something you would think were monolithic from the passion of many green activists, but in fact is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. In choosing companies, for example, you have classic green, which are enterprises that embrace practices or provide services embracing and advancing social justice, you have “sustainable” green, which looks at practices and extrapolates to see if in the long-term there are depletions or degradations that in-turn we must seek to avoid, you have “renewable” which some are saying might even apply to nuclear power, and you have “clean” which means no pollution, which in-turn may or may not include CO2.

All of these criteria only scratch the surface of what is green. Henwood’s site is helpful in this tangle of interpretations and agendas, because he has designed a matrix that graphically tracks energy from resource to application, with a set of icons and flow diagramming that is probably the best I’ve ever seen. A small replica of Henwood’s informed and thoughtful schematic is depicted in this post, if you click on it you will see the complete larger version on the Camino Energy website.

With hundreds of public companies from around the world included in his database, with their financial metrics updated automatically, Henwood has created a resource that is hard to find and very useful. With four indexes, Renewable Gencos (geothermal, wind), Solar PV Producers, Fuel Cell Producers, and Ethanol Producers, Henwood is focusing on the green energy sectors with a critical mass of public companies worldwide. He believes, like I do, that even though the photovoltaic sector has done very well in the past few years, and may be a bit overhyped today, it is still the best long term investment.

If you intend to invest in public green energy companies, look to – their indexes provide invaluable insights, which along with additional vital financial information on green energy companies, makes this website a must-visit.

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