Features & Opinion
 
Thank You and Goodbye Gas Grid
Our family is now off the gas grid. In March we installed an induction cooktop to replace our gas cooktop, which had been our last gas appliance. Everything in our house now runs off electricity including the oven, the solar hot water booster, the lawnmower and the barbeque. More
Finding Ethical Stock Market Stars
Rising Star Research is a new service looking to uncover rising stock market stars of the future. It produces independent and quality business analysis reports for investors with a focus on ethical micro cap companies below $250 million in market capitalization. The founder and principal, Simon Turner, says this is an area where the investor information challenge is most extreme. More
Stories from Your Future: The Environment in 2100
Predicting the future is an old game that no one is good at, so one of the best parts is all the great expressions that have sprung up to explain this. Some of the classics are: "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." "The future isn't what it used to be!" "An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today." "I have seen the future and it is very much like the present, only longer." More

Will PM Turnbull be Good for Cleantech Confidence?
Not just environmental investors but most of Australia breathed a huge sigh of relief when prime minister Tony Abbott departed the job, but will prime minister Malcolm Turnbull be better for the environment, for environmental investors and for environmental innovators? Can Turnbull give back to cleantech the mojo it had under John Howard and Kevin Rudd? More
Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
A less well known and under-researched aspect of the chemicals in the environment issue is pharmaceuticals and drugs in the environment, yet the problem is growing, especially in larger cities. In July the ABC reported that significant levels of strong painkillers and anti-depressants were found in tests on water samples from 30 sites around stormwater outlets in Sydney Harbour and the entire estuary. More

Video: Interview with Damien Lynch, managing director of August Investments
Eco Investor editor Victor Bivell interviews Damien Lynch, Australia's most experienced environmental investor, about environmental investment in Australia. View Here

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Core Securities
 
Important Acquisition for Tox Free Solutions
Tox Free Solutions has added significant bulk in NSW with the $70 million acquisition of Worth Corporation Pty Ltd. Tox paid in cash and raised $20 million in an institutional placement and will raise another $4 million through a share purchase plan, both at $2.55 per share. Worth is a leading liquid waste and industrial services business... More
Beacon Lighting Justifies Early Promise
The strong share price performance by Beacon Lighting Group since its IPO two years ago seems justified with the company achieving record sales and a record profit for the December half year. More
Transpacific Now Cleanaway
Transpacific Industries has completed its name change to Cleanaway Waste Management, and reported a half year profit of $23 million to turnaround last year's December half loss of $42 million. Revenue was up 8 per cent to $747 million. Chief executive Vik Bansal said trading conditions are flat so the positive results reflect the early success of initiatives across the company. More


Steady ASX Listing for Contact Energy
When it comes to renewable energy, New Zealand keeps giving with the latest instalment being the dual-listing on the ASX of Contact Energy. The listing was announced in early August last year when Origin Energy said it was selling all of its 389 million shares in Contact Energy, and the listing occured on 24 September with the shares opening at $4.40. The shares have kept their value, trading between $4.95 and $4.18 and mostly recently at around their opening price of $4.40. More
Aspen Sells Aspen Parks
Aspen Group sold its 42 per cent stake in Aspen Parks Property Fund to Discovery Parks, which now owns just over 90 per cent of Aspen Parks. Discovery Parks is wrapping up the takeover offer before it moves to compulsorily acquire the securities it does not have. For Aspen Parks security holders, the successful takeover means they have sold out of an illiquid unlisted fund at a 39 per cent premium to net asset value and have cash in hand. For Aspen Group security holders, the situation is a little different. More
Is Australian Ethical Investment Ltd a Value Investment?
A general principle in value investment circles is that the higher the rise in a company's share price, the lower the value of those shares. But is this necessarily so? We will use the ASX listed shares of Australian Ethical Investments Ltd (Australian Ethical) as an example. Australian Ethical is a funds management company with $1.2 billion under management. The organization is considered by many to be the premier ethical investment group in Australia... More


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Speculative Securities
 
Protean Wave Energy Joins ASX
There is a reason why the Australian wave energy industry is a world leader - it keeps bobbing along, with the latest development being the backdoor listing of Protean Wave Energy, which is commercializing its Protean wave energy converter (WEC) technology. More
SECOS Responds to Banning Compostable Plastic Bags Idea
The push in Australia to ban plastic bags could affect biodegradable or compostable bags, including those made by SECOS Group. Jeff Angel, convenor of the Boomerang Alliance of 34 groups, which is campaigning against plastic bags, said the call includes the so-called biodegradable or compostable bags which are just as dangerous when littered as they don't disappear. However, SECOS chairman Richard Tegoni told Eco Investor that this statement is incorrect. More
International Deals for Pacific Environment Pacific Environment's work to commercialize its EnviroSuite software offshore is paying off with two new deals: in England with Thames Water Utilities Ltd and in Spain with Libelium. Thames Water has 15 million customers and is the UK's largest water and wastewater services company. More HRL Upgraded to Pre-Dividend Security
HRL Holdings' strategy of refocusing from geothermal energy to environmental services has paid off with the company announcing a net profit for the December half of $339,297. The December 2014 half year loss was $1.48 million. Although the profit is modest, the underlying net profit was also positive at $556,014 and Eco Investor has upgraded the company from a pre-profit to a pre-dividend security. More
US Project for Leaf Resources
Leaf Resources is to build a Glycell biorefinery in the US in a joint venture with US biorefinery company ZeaChem Inc. The two companies are also strengthening their links with Leaf investing $550,000 from current cash to increase its equity stake in ZeaChem to 13 per cent. It has the potential to go to 45 per cent. More
Solar IPO With Good-Looking Innovations
It's great to see an innovative solar energy company among the first IPOs for the new year. Trac Group Holdings Ltd is raising between $3.5 million and $6.5 million to begin commercializing its beautiful looking home roof system that can come with or without built-in solar energy and solar hot water. More

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Unlisted Companies
 
New Clean Innovation Fund Stirs Controversy
The Federal Government's new Clean Energy Innovation Fund has drawn both praise and criticism, but I think the Clean Energy Council (CEC) summed it up well when it said it is two steps forward and one step back for clean energy innovation. However a harsher critic could argue it is one step forward and one step back. More
Energy Efficient Signage Ready to Light Up
The inventor of an energy efficient and easy-to-change signage system is now ready to start manufacturing and distributing the technology. John Brennan says his Rotosign uses minimal power and can run off a simple D cell battery as well as from the mains and solar power, offering significant cost savings over conventional neon and fluorescent backlit signage which can use over 15 times more power and have issues with toxic waste. More
US$36 Million for Solar Storage Company
Sunverge Energy has received US$36.5 million in a new round of venture capital to help it commercialize its battery technology that it says is world-leading and about to boost the uptake of residential energy storage in Australia. The latest funding round included US$20 million from new investor, AGL Energy, which invested alongside current investors the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Softbank China Venture Capital (SBCVC), Siemens Venture Capital and Total Energy Ventures International. More

Modular Solar Desalination System
Solar Blue Innovations is finalizing R&D and commencing commercialization for its innovative modular solar desalination system that can deliver up to 65,000 litres of potable water per year at a capital cost of less than 10 cents per litre. The SolarWell is similar in size to a solar hot water system. It uses a thermal MED (multi effect distillation) technology and can easily desalinate grey water, sea water, bore water or water tainted by pathogens or heavy metals. More
Cleaning the Oceans Takes Off
Two young entrepreneurs have created an impressive amount of media coverage and had their youtube videos viewed over 2 million times with an innovation that can help capture plastics and other pollution in the oceans and keep them cleaner. The founders of Seabin Pty Ltd, Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, have also raised US$267,767 from 7,360 backers to fund their innovation through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. This is already over their target. More
Inventor Offers over 70 Projects for Sale
One of Australia's most prolific inventors, Andy Karpisek, is offering over 70 projects, including some key cleantech projects, for sale due to his age. Mr Karpisek is now 91 years of age and says he will not be here forever. More


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Property
 
Cities Are Critical for Threatened Wildlife
Over 500 of Australia's threatened species have populations living in cities and Australian cities can help to conserve these endangered animals and plants, say environmental scientists from the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). New research shows that our cities still have a remarkable number of threatened species, and that all cities and towns contain species that are officially listed as threatened. Sydney has the most, at 126 species...More

More Trees Help Birds Survive Droughts
Increasing tree cover, particularly on the sides of streams and on floodplains, can help birds to survive during long and severe droughts, says Charles Sturt University ecologist, Dr Dale Nimmo. In a clear message to rural property owners and governments, he says his team's research is timely as climate scientists have observed El Nino is now strengthening to levels not seen since 1997-1998. More

New Town May Be Energy-Independent
An investigation by Brookfield Energy Australia may enable the new Huntlee residential development in the NSW Hunter Valley to be built off-the-grid and powered by renewable energy. Huntlee, developed by LWP Property Group, will be the first new town in the Hunter Valley in 50 years and will house 20,000 new residents in 7,500 homes. More

Solar Harvesting at Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney has installed a 24 kW solar energy system that will provide a quarter of its energy and save it about $7,000 per year. More

Defending Urban Sanctuaries
The Total Environment Centre (TEC) has launched a campaign and a DIY toolkit to help communities defend and preserve Sydney's parks and green spaces a situation which TEC's executive director Jeff Angel says is urgent. More

 

Office Trust to Make Buildings Sustainable
Real estate fund manager EG Funds Management is establishing an unlisted $400 million wholesale fund with a portfolio of sustainable office buildings and has secured the Clean Energy Finance Corporation as a cornerstone investor for up to $125 million. More

 

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Fixed Interest

Green Bond Guidelines for Real Estate
Guidelines on what constitute green bonds for investors in the real estate sector have been released. While the market in Australia for such bonds is undeveloped at present, local investors may still find the guidelines useful when looking at investments in real estate investment trusts. More

ANZ Bank's First Green Bond
ANZ Bank has raised $600 million in its first green bond, which the bank said is the largest climate related bond so far by an Australian issuer. It was primarily taken up by Australian institutional investors as well as funds in Asia. More

 

Stockland Issues Corporate Green Bond
Listed property giant Stockland has issued what it says is Australia's first corporate green bond. The proceeds of the EUR 300 million bond will be used to help fund eligible environmentally sustainable retail, commercial, residential and retirement living projects. More

How Interest Rates Affect Fixed Interest Funds
A handy guide to how changes in interest rates will affect the value of a fixed interest fund is the concept of duration. Understanding this idea will help investors to know how much the value of their units could go up or down when official interest rates change. More

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Superannuation
Australian Super Funds Still Lead on Carbon
Australia's Local Government Super fund ranked number one in the world index for pro- actively managing climate risk, says the annual Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) which aims to protect the investments held by the world's largest asset owners from the risks of climate change. More

Super Switch Compares Fossil Fuels in Super
Investors who want to know how exposed their superannuation fund is to fossil fuels or who want to compare super funds' fossil fuel exposure can use the new Super Switch service, which analyzes super fund exposure to the fossil fuel industry through Australian and international shares. More

Fossil Fuel Free Super Fund
Future Super is a new superannuation fund that is claiming to be Australia's first fossil fuel free super fund. Along with this negative screen, it also has a positive screen to fund activities that make a positive impact on the environment and community. More

HESTA Limits Thermal Coal Investments
Joining the growing list of institutional investors reducing their exposure to coal investments is superannuation fund HESTA, which has begun to progressively restrict its investments in thermal coal across all its investment options. More

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International Shares
Turnaround Leads to All Time High
In August the unit price for Australian Ethical's International Share Fund hit an all time high of $1.067. While this is commendable, also noteworthy has been the huge turnaround in the unit price since the Global Financial Crisis when the $1 units were at an all time low of $0.51 To find out about the turnaround, Eco Investor asked the Fund's portfolio manager, Nathan Lim, who took over management of the Fund at this time. More

Ocean Power Technologies Deploys Buoy
The much troubled Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. has begun to make operational progress again with the successful deployment of a PB40 PowerBuoy off the coast of New Jersey on the US east coast. The company said the deployment is its first since late 2013 and is a critical step in its efforts to commercialize its wave energy technology. More

Explosive Growth for Global Renewable Energy
The good news keeps coming for international investors and those who may doubt that the global push to renewables is unstoppable. The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21StCentury has published a report that shows that global investment in renewables grew six fold in the 10 years from 2004 to 2014. More

First ETF for YieldCos
The first exchange traded fund (ETF) to provide investors with access to yieldcos has been launched by Global X Funds, a New York-based provider of ETFs. The Global X YieldCo Index ETF (Nasdaq: YLCO) aims to provide investment results that generally correspond to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Indxx Global YieldCo Index. More