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100 best ESG stocks? Just saying
Annual list generates lots of buzz, but looks pretty tech and large-cap heavy
(David Callaway is founder and Editor-in-Chief of Callaway Climate Insights. He is the former president of the World Editors Forum, Editor-in-Chief of USA Today and MarketWatch, and CEO of TheStreet Inc.)
A lot of buzz last week about Just Capital’s new rankings of the top 100 ESG stocks in America.
The non-profit founded by Paul Tudor Jones ranked Alphabet (GOOGL) at the top and demoted Facebook/Meta Platforms (FB), and particularly cited Target (TGT) and as up-and-comer. But is it just another list of large-cap tech stocks?
Certainly, Just Capital is on the up and up proclaiming the list as a look at the country’s largest companies, and their performance in environmental, social and governance (ESG), issues, and it’s worth a read to see how some of your holdings might fare under the Just microscope.
Alphabet got pushed up above Microsoft (MSFT) in the past year, while Facebook plunged and Target made the top 100. BlackRock (BLK) didn’t fare too well, and was that ExxonMobil we spotted in 89th place?
These are always fun lists, which is why they generate so much media buzz. And no doubt many of the companies on the list have made progress in environmental and social issues in the past year, especially in workplace conditions in the time of Covid. But as a guide to where to place your dollars if you want to make a difference in fighting global warming and find profit, a list of mostly tech stocks might not be the best. Target, which is decidedly not a tech stock, returned about 15% in the past year for shareholders. Not bad, but well below the S&P 500’s 27%.
Look for the company whose business model is tied into improving the environment and creating a fair workplace, not just its marketing pitch. No doubt some of these companies would fare well on that more restricted list. Others, we’re not so sure.