Image courtesy of Blue Summit Invest
Now that both a massive recession and the New Year are underway, it's time to start thinking about staying afloat financially. And now might be the best time ever to invest in green—there are a slew of factors that make green look good for 2009: among them, a new administration bent on unfurling a green jobs plan is taking office in a matter of weeks, and the fact that shares in most green companies are way down at the moment (read: cheap).
According to the LA Times, it looks like everyone's favorite overused word of 2008 might be your in to an underused investment sector.
Here are some of the Times' best quick tips for green investing in 2009:
Green Investment 2009 at a Glance
1. Look to alternative energy companies for long term investments, not short term:
" Investments in alternative-energy companies, for example, probably won't pay off immediately, but they might in five to eight years, he said." They also note that "Alternative-energy companies could receive a boost if fuel prices go back up, as could makers of hybrid cars."
2. Invest in companies working to curb water shortage—which will soon be a massive issue—especially "companies attempting to develop efficient ways to desalinate ocean water to increase the supply. Other firms are working on recycling water for industrial use."
3. Check out transportation investment options. Most of the advice offered here is pretty standard stuff:
Air pollution standards and consumer demand are pushing automobile companies toward making more low-emission or zero-emission cars, including hybrids and electric vehicles. If gasoline prices go up, demand for such vehicles can only rise. There are bicycle manufacturers, scooter makers, bus companies and others that hope to profit from continued concern about pollution and the price of oil.
4. Invest in efficiency. From the Times: "[invest] in companies with a clear competitive edge, such as those whose products are most efficient." Fairly straightforward advice, but difficult perhaps to execute—the company with the "most efficient product" is sometimes more difficult to discern than the hybrid car that gets the best gas mileage. Still, you should look for proven innovation as a primary factor when investing in green.
5. Contact socially responsible investing organizations:
"The Social Investment Forum, a financial industry association with an emphasis on ethical investments, puts out regular reports on the state of the industry. As of 2007, there were 260 mutual funds that marketed themselves as having been screened as socially or environmentally responsible investments."
This is a good way to get started, and get some ideas. But as noted in the article, returns on socially responsible investments are often smaller than the mainstream ones—ah, the price you pay for investing with a conscious.
For the whole story, and some more in-depth information read the LA Times Green Investing Tips article.
And if you're looking for some more radical ideas, check out this guide for some alternative green investment strategies for 2009 https://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/6-alternative-investment-strategies.php?page=2.