Sustainability

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

Wind farm on a grassy landscape
Credit: Anselm - stock.adobe.com

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

Earth Day is a great opportunity to reflect on ways the global economy can move forward without inflicting further harm on our planet. In a year that saw a global pandemic and raging wildfires juxtaposed against record stock markets, it is often the largest companies that have gotten the most attention around ambitious sustainability goals.

However, it is important to remember that while the largest companies get most of the headlines, the majority of daily economic activity involves smaller enterprises. Many of these have also stepped up efforts to address global sustainability challenges through their products and operations.

Below are five less well-known companies that have put green technology and sustainable innovation at the heart of their business models. These companies stand out because of their positive performance in ‘green’ areas monitored by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). FactSet screened for smaller firms that scored well across the UN SDG’s Clean Water and Sanitation, Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on Land goals using 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 made positive impact by lowering carbon emissions by ~368,000 tons in FY 2020, while simultaneously generating savings of ~$219 million for its customers. In April’20, the company partnered with New York Power Authority and Brenmiller Energy on a groundbreaking zero-carbon thermal energy storage project, which is expected to provide annual greenhouse gas reduction of 550 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions. Along with carbon reduction projects, the company is investing in an innovative biogas project in Japan. Capstone positively contributes to SDG 13, which urges companies to take action to combat climate change, by reducing overall carbon footprint by partnering with companies and has received an Insight score of 63.5[1].

Keppel Corp (KPELY)

Singapore’s Keppel Corp is an investment holding and management company, which engages in the provision of offshore & marine engineering and construction services. Historically known for its offshore oil rig construction, Keppel Corp made big news in 2021 by announcing that it was exiting the offshore oil rig business and restructuring to seek opportunities in renewable energy. As part of its transition, the company secured a $600m contract to build a wind turbine installation vessel in the U.S., as well as major contracts to produce offshore wind converter stations and substations in the North Sea and Taiwan. Additionally, Keppel acquired a 45% stake in Harlin Solar Pty Ltd in order to develop a large-scale, greenfield solar farm in Queensland, Australia--the company’s first foray into solar energy development. These actions, as well as others, helped push Keppel’s TVL Insight score for SDG Goal 13-Climate Action to 64.5 and SDG Goal 15-Life on Land to 88.8[2].

MAN SE (MAGOY)

With roots reaching back to the mid-18th century, MAN SE has a storied history as a mechanical engineering company. Once the birthplace of the diesel engine, the company has long since moved to focus on more sustainable innovation in the commercial transportation space. MAN is owned by Volkswagen, who is moving rapidly in the electromobility space and recently announced an investment of $29 billion to build six battery plants in Europe by 2030. In 2019, the company launched a small series of an all-electric delivery truck called the eTGM, followed up by moving the Lion’s City E, a fully electric bus, into production in 2020. These vehicles are part of the company’s zero-emissions strategy that includes development of fuel cells and H2 combustion engines in addition to electric powertrains. The company holds a TVL Insight Score of 71.15 for SDG Goal 13 – Climate Action[3], which places it among the highest performing companies on that goal.

Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REGI)

Renewable Energy Group engages in the production and trade of advanced biofuels. As the world transitions towards sustainable energy, REG’s products enable other companies to reduce their carbon footprint. In 2019, the company’s work with utility company Charlotte Water helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by ~75 tons in a three-month period, equating to a 300-ton reduction per year. In the same year, REG opened its first biodiesel fueling station in Illinois for trucking fleets and local diesel vehicles. In 2021, REG partnered with Optimus Technologies to provide biodiesel for its fleets and help Optimus transition towards near-zero emissions goals. The company’s clean and low-carbon products positively align with SDG 13-Climate Action and its efforts are positively scored by TVL with an Insight score of 70.0.[4]

Schneider Electric (SBGSY)

Schneider Electric SE engages in the digital transformation of energy management and automation in order to help companies reduce energy consumption and achieve carbon neutrality. The company was an early leader in the field of decarbonization and in 2020 it was one of the first companies to issue an ESG-linked convertible bond. Most recently Schneider launched its “Zero Carbon Project” initiative under which the company will partner with its top 1,000 suppliers - which represent 70 per cent of its carbon emissions - to halve their operations’ CO2 emissions by 2025. Schneider’s leadership 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 04/15/2021

[5] Ibid

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

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