When it comes to ethical investing, it is perhaps somewhat surprising that animal welfare has not had the attention that many people think it deserves. Traditional environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria do not tend to address it directly, and far more focus is put on general environmental impact, equality, governance and workers’ rights.
This is all changing slowly. A non-profit organisation called Cruelty Free Investing now provides potential investors and financial advisors with a master list of all the companies that do not exploit animals, to aid them in their ethical trading decisions. Several wealth management companies focus on cruelty free investing or provide the option of a vegan portfolio manager, and the first-ever vegan exchange-traded fund was launched in 2019, including only companies that operate without causing harm to animals.
You will, of course, want to do your own research before making investment decisions, and it is always important to base those decisions on your values, financial needs and requirements. Here are a few of the ethical stocks you may want to consider if animal welfare is an issue that informs your investments.
It makes sense to start with one of the higher-profile vegan public companies. This US plant-based food company is headquartered in California and produces a variety of products that can broadly be characterised as meat substitutes, including burgers and sausages. As well as catering to vegans and vegetarians, the company clearly aims to introduce a more healthy, meat-free diet to the vast numbers of Americans who are still meat-eaters, but trying to consume less of it. So it can be said that it is actively trying to promote a plant-based diet to current meat-eaters. Unsurprisingly the company is able to boast that it uses far less energy, land, and water than most food companies, and emits a lot less greenhouse gases. The company went public fairly recently, and its financial reports involve mixed news. Beyond Meat made a net loss in quarter two of 2019, but an operating profit. In the same quarter, revenues increased by 267% to over $67m. It is certainly one to keep an eye on. The ticker symbol for Beyond Meat is BYND.
You may not associate Microsoft with animal welfare, but it is actually on the Cruelty Free Investing ‘safe list’. It’s also a stock currently held by the Vegan Climate ETF. Apart from the fact that none of its activities involve harming or exploiting animals, the company can also boast that it is working on preserving the planet for all its inhabitants. It has reduced carbon emissions by 15.6m tons, purchased over 1.6 gigawatts of wind and solar energy, and recycles almost 10m kilograms of consumer e-waste, annually. Microsoft stock has been performing well in 2019, and the current dividend yield is 1.45%. As you may already be aware, the ticker symbol for this stock is MSFT.
Accenture is a Fortune Global 500 company providing professional services including strategy, consulting, technology and operations. It is also on the Cruelty Free Investing list of companies that are safe to invest in and is another stock currently held by the Vegan Climate ETF. Accenture does well on other ESG criteria too, such as equality, environmental impact and good governance, and is one of the world’s most ethical companies, according to Ethisphere. The company is currently showing revenue growth of 8.5% in local currency. In the 2019 fiscal year, Accenture returned $4.6bn to shareholders and has reported a compound annual total return to shareholders of 22% over the last five years. The ticker symbol for Accenture PLC is ACN.
Intel is another technology company that makes the Cruelty Free Investing list of companies who do not harm or exploit animals, as well as the Ethisphere list of the world’s most ethical companies. It has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility in many other areas too and is known for leading the semiconductor industry in developing the first-ever global industry commitment to address climate change. The company’s environmental, health & safety policy focuses on environmental sustainability, public information transparency and emergency preparedness. Intel stock hit a 19-year-high earlier this year, before falling sharply, but is currently rising again, and at the time of writing was edging close to that high point again. It is currently quoting a dividend yield of 2.23%. The ticker symbol for Intel is INTC.
This renewable energy company is on the Cruelty Free Investment list and is dedicated to environmental issues, with its core business being the creation of clean, green, renewable energy sources. The company owns hydroelectric dams, wind farms and solar farms, and is one of the largest investors in renewable energy worldwide. It has a strong focus on other corporate social responsibility issues, such as health & safety, philanthropy, transparency, and governance. Brookfield’s stock has been growing fairly consistently in 2019, and with a 5.01% yield, this is definitely one to watch for ethical investors. The ticker symbol for Brookfield Renewable Partners is BEP.
This US-based food and beverage company provides plant-based ingredients for manufacturers of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and beauty products. It makes the Cruelty Free Investing list of companies who don’t exploit animals, and the Ethisphere list of the world’s most ethical companies — scoring high on many CSR criteria such as diversity and inclusion and transparency, as well as animal welfare. The company also aims to help customers replace synthetic ingredients with naturally derived solutions, and make their plastic packaging more biodegradable and earth-friendly. Ingredion stock has seen a volatile year to date, with a 52-week low of 73.00 and 52-week high of 107.52. Its current dividend yield is 3.18%. The company’s ticker symbol is INGR.
All the above stocks can be traded at most brokerages that provide individual stocks among their tradeable assets. Brokers you might want to consider include DEGIRO, eToro and IG. You can search for specific stocks at online brokers and exchanges using the name of the company or the ticker symbol.
Are you interested in different types of ethical stocks? We also have guides to the best ethical stocks if you wish to support equality or workers’ rights.