7 Companies That Could Profit From Climate Change

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Construction worker with solar panels
Mark Agnor / Shutterstock.com

There seems little doubt that climate change is a reality. Indicators are coming hot and heavy. A few:

Rising sea levels from the melting ice mass could destroy many coastal communities worldwide, displacing millions of people. Socioeconomic, political and demographic changes are sure to follow.

Businesses have taken notice, developing ideas for capitalizing on the growing need, for example, for food production, medical supplies, communications technology and renewable energies.

Whether you want your investments to save the planet or simply profit from the planet’s warming, below are investment options to consider.

Note: Stocks are risky and since we don’t know you or your financial situation, you should never regard anything we publish as a recommendation. Do your own research before investing in any security.

1. BWX Technologies (BWXT)

Although the nuclear energy industry carries potentially deadly risks to human health — as the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters demonstrated — groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists consider nuclear power one of the best ways to combat climate change.

Lynchburg, Virginia-based BWX Technologies supplies nuclear components and fuel to the U.S. government and commercial power industry. Its stock price jumped 20% in January 2019.

BWX and other companies in the low-carbon nuclear energy realm could be major players in an industry possibly worth trillions of dollars by 2050.

“Nuclear energy is increasingly seen as a viable alternative to fossil fuel sources,” says Investopedia, in a roundup of alternative energy stocks.

2. First Solar (FSLR)

This renewable energy company based in Tempe, Arizona, is a “dominant player” in the solar power industry, says Investopedia.

First Solar’s Series 6 panels are larger and less expensive than its previous models, says market advice site Motley Fool.

A major provider of solar film to utilities, the company says that its production is sold out through 2020 and that nearly a third of its output is sold through 2021.

First Solar is focusing on “increasing energy yield and grid stability as well as on decreasing costs,” Investopedia says.

The market for solar, wind and other renewable energies is going mainstream. Whether it’s Canberra, Australia, going 100% renewable or the UK outfitting 1.75 million homes with solar panels, renewable energy is poised to grow in prominence.

3. Nestle (NSRGY)

Several years after being criticized for its palm oil harvesting methods, the huge Swiss food and drink company announced in April that 77% of its agricultural commodities are certified “deforestation-free.”

The company is entering the plant- and cell-based synthetic “meat” production industry, which in the past two years has grown by billions of dollars in the U.S. alone, nonprofit Good Food Industry says.

Nestle is launching its Sweet Earth Awesome Burgers Garden Gourmet Incredible Burger in the U.S. and Europe.

Barclays analysts expect the fake meat industry to grow to $140 billion in the next decade. “There is a growing set of beliefs that meat is inefficient, bad for the environment and questionable for your health, and these are driving consumer habits,” the Financial Times writes of Nestle’s European vegetable protein company, Beyond Meat. The question is, “what share of the huge market” can Nestle capture, the Times asks.

4. Unilever (UL)

The London- and Rotterdam-based maker of a variety of consumer products — including such familiar brands as Lipton and Dove — aspires to be “carbon positive” by 2030.

Unilever, a member of the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, aims to do this by:

  • Using only renewable energy by 2030.
  • Eliminating its use of coal by 2020.
  • Generating more energy than it consumes by 2030.

The nonprofit organization CDP manages a global disclosure system that reports on investors’, companies’ and governments’ environmental impacts. Unilever, on its A-list for climate change leadership, is among those considered “most prepared” for a global low-carbon economy.

CNBC rates Unilever as a potentially strong stock to buy in the climate change era.

5. Merck (MRK)

Climate change — and the extreme heat, water quality issues, air pollution and other associated problems — will make us sicker, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the World Health Organization.

More illnesses mean increased demand for more pharmaceuticals made by corporations like Merck.

In a submission by Merck to CDP, the U.S.-based international pharmaceutical corporation predicts “expanded markets for products for tropical and weather-related diseases including waterborne illness,” reports Axios.

6. Honeywell (HON)

Do you ever look at office skyscrapers at night and wonder why all those lights are on?

The data support your concerns: Residential and commercial buildings account for 40% of U.S. energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Now, thanks to a wide range of technological innovations such as geothermal heat pumps and home energy managers, the building energy management systems industry is poised for rapid growth.

New Jersey-based Honeywell helps optimize office space, identify physical or digital problems and manage energy inefficiencies.

The Motley Fool takes a look at Honeywell, noting analysts’ reservations, particularly about “anemic growth” in its buildings businesses but says that it could be poised to improve.

7. General Motors (GM)

Of all greenhouse gas emissions, the largest share (28.9% in 2017) comes from transportation — cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

GM and construction giant Bechtel plan to jointly build a network of thousands of EV (electric vehicle) fast-charging stations across the U.S., which could boost electric car sales.

The legacy automaker is a contender in the EV space, “holding its own with its Bolt and Volt EVs,” says MarketWatch.

Do you have suggestions for companies that — for good or ill — stand to profit from climate change? Tell us in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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