5 Lesser-Known Companies Pursuing Sustainable Innovation to Check Out This Earth Day

By Nicholas Cohn-Martin, Richa Joshi and Cornelius Graubner from FactSet

Earth Day is a great opportunity to think about how the world economy can move forward without causing further damage to our planet. In a year in which a global pandemic and raging forest fires faced record markets, it is often the largest companies that have paid the greatest attention to ambitious sustainability goals.

It is important to remember, however, that while the largest companies make the most of the headlines, most of the daily economic activity involves smaller companies. Many of them have also intensified their efforts to meet the global challenges of sustainability with their products and operations.

Below are five lesser-known companies that have put green technology and sustainable innovation at the heart of their business models. These companies are characterized by their positive performance in “green” areas, which are monitored by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). FactSet was looking for smaller companies that achieved good results in the goals of the UN SDG for clean water and sanitation, climate protection, life under water and life on land Truvalue Labs’ proprietary SDG Insights Scores.

Capstone Turbine Corporation (CGRN)

Capstone Turbine is a developer and manufacturer of microturbine power generation systems. According to the company, its products have had a positive impact by reducing carbon emissions by ~ 368,000 metric tons in fiscal 2020 while saving ~ $ 219 million for its customers. On April 20, the company partnered with the New York Power Authority and Brenmiller Energy on a groundbreaking carbon-free thermal energy storage project that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 550 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions annually. In addition to projects to reduce CO2 emissions, the company is investing in an innovative biogas project in Japan. Capstone makes a positive contribution to SDG 13, which urges companies to take action to combat climate change by partnering with companies to reduce their overall carbon footprint and achieve an insight score of 63.5[1].

Keppel Corp (KPELY)

Singapore-based Keppel Corp is an investment holding and management company providing offshore and shipbuilding and construction services. Keppel Corp, historically known for its offshore oil rig construction, announced in 2021 that it was leaving the offshore oil rig business and restructuring to seek renewable energy opportunities. As part of the transition, the company won a $ 600 million contract to build a wind turbine installation vessel in the United States, as well as major contracts to manufacture offshore wind converter stations and substations in the North Sea and Taiwan. In addition, Keppel acquired a 45% stake in Harlin Solar Pty Ltd to develop a large green field solar farm in Queensland, Australia – the company’s first foray into solar energy development. These and other measures have helped increase Keppel’s TVL Insight score for SDG goal 13 – climate protection to 64.5 and SDG goal 15 – life on land to 88.8[2].


With roots going back to the middle of the 18th century, MAN SE has a long history as a mechanical engineering company. The company, once the birthplace of the diesel engine, has long since focused on more sustainable innovations in commercial transport. MAN is owned by Volkswagen, which is fast moving into electromobility and recently announced a $ 29 billion investment to build six battery systems in Europe by 2030. In 2019, the company launched a small series of fully electric delivery vans called The eTGM, followed by the commissioning of the fully electric Lion’s City E bus in 2020. These vehicles are part of the company’s emission-free strategy, which includes the development of fuel cells in addition to electric drives and H2 internal combustion engines. The company has a TVL Insight Score of 71.15 for SDG Goal 13 – Climate Action[3]This makes it one of the best performing companies to achieve this goal.

Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REGI)

The Renewable Energy Group is engaged in the production and trading of advanced biofuels. With the world’s transition to sustainable energy, REG’s products enable other companies to reduce their carbon footprint. In 2019, the company’s collaboration with utility Charlotte Water helped cut greenhouse gas emissions by ~ 75 tons in three months, a reduction of 300 tons per year. That same year, REG opened its first biodiesel filling station in Illinois for truck fleets and local diesel vehicles. In 2021, REG partnered with Optimus Technologies to provide biodiesel for its fleets and help Optimus transition to zero emissions targets. The company’s clean, low-carbon products are positively compliant with SDG 13-Climate Action, and its efforts are rated positively by TVL with an Insight score of 70.0.[4]

Schneider Electric (SBGSY)

Schneider Electric SE deals with the digital transformation of energy management and automation to help companies reduce energy consumption and achieve carbon neutrality. The company was an early leader in the field of decarbonization and was one of the first companies to issue an ESG-linked convertible bond in 2020. Most recently, Schneider launched its “Zero Carbon Project” initiative, in which the company will work together with its 1,000 largest suppliers – who account for 70 percent of its CO2 emissions – to halve the CO2 emissions of their operations by 2025. Schneider’s leadership role in these areas resulted in a TVL Insight Score of 67.49 for SDG Goal 13-Climate Action and 70.30 for SDG Goal 15-Life on Land[5].

[1] Ibid

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] As of April 15, 2021

[5] Ibid

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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