Features & Opinion
 
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
Many Sectors Worse Off Than Cleantech
For several years environmental investors have been smarting over the Government's sabotage of the cleantech sector, but government risk is only one of many risks faced by investors and the cleantech sector is far from alone in having big problems. Even sectors with strong government support are facing huge issues and their investors have lost billions and may lose more. 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
 
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

NZ Utilities Safe from Technology Changes
While the rise of renewable and distributed energy and energy storage are expected to severely challenge the business models of Australia's largest utilities, this is not the case for New Zealand's renewable energy based utilities such as Meridian Energy and Mighty River Power. More
Gale Pacific Strategy Working
Gale Pacific's restructuring appears to be working with the company upgrading its earnings guidance for the first half and in response its shares hit a one year high of 30 cents. The new guidance is profit before tax of between $2.75 and $3.25 million with the full year profit before tax expected to be weighted to the second half when growth on the previous corresponding half is also expected. More
Can Beacon Lighting Sustain its High Growth Rate?
Beacon Lighting is Australia's leading lighting retailer with 78 company-owned stores and 13 franchised stores around the country. The company is focused upon the middle to upper residential market segments with 90 per cent of its products designed, manufactured under licence and distributed in-house. The company has grown quickly in recent years... More

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Speculative Securities
 

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

 

Carbon Conscious - How Environmental and Ethical Is Its Farming Strategy?
Carbon Conscious recently announced a major change in strategic direction with their move into dairy production. The company has also notified the ASX of their intention to change the company's name to Alterra at the company's AGM in February to reflect their change in business direction. Prior to this announcement the company's main business activity was the long term contract management of carbon plantation assets... More
Reducing Commercial Building Emissions
Eco Investor has been writing about BuildingIQ, Inc. since the company was founded in 2009 so it is encouraging to see it now issue a prospectus to list on the ASX. The energy management software and service company is raising $20 million through an offer of $1 CHESS Depositary Interests (CDIs) and expects to list on 17 December. More
RedFlow Targets Miners and Householders
Energy storage maker RedFlow has urged mining companies to look at deploying renewable energy with on-site power storage to cut their energy costs at remote sites, particularly now that commodity prices and mining revenue have fallen. The recent world agreement at the Paris UN Climate Change Conference also makes this a practical way in which mining companies can help to reduce emissions. More
The Environmental Benefits of Scandium
Clean TeQ Holdings has released further information on the environmental benefits of scandium, a metal it will mine at Syerston in NSW if a feasibility study and a recovery and purification demonstration plant in Perth perform well. Scandium is lightweight and adds strength to aluminium, giving aluminium weight, fuel and cost savings in the key transport sectors of airlines, motor vehicles, trains and ships where its use is growing and it is expected to be a prefered material for decades. More


No Luck for Geodynamics in Pacific and Desert
All of Geodynamics' geothermal energy projects including the two key projects in the South Pacific and the Habanero Project in the Cooper Basin are on hold and unlikely to make further progress in the near term. Writing in the company's annual report, chairman Keith Spence and managing director Geoff Ward say that the commercial conditions to progress the Pacific geothermal projects are weak. More

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Unlisted Companies
 
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
New $200 Million Bioenergy Fund
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has made available $100 million for a new Australian Bioenergy Fund to accelerate investment in the sector and unlock its potential. The Fund will be managed by the Foresight Group which is aiming raise over $200 million in equity. The Fund will invest in a wide range of projects across the agricultural, council, forestry and mining waste industries. More

Plastics Recycler Raises $0.5 Million
Plastics recycler Newtecpoly Pty Ltd has raised $500,000 of seed capital from a strategic investor who will join the board and management team. Tauro Capital Partners, which is assisting with the capital raising and introduced the investor, said the investment was at a valuation attractive to the founders and the deal is a big win for the company. More
Organic Fast Food Opportunities for Investors
We are all used to seeing the usual junk food shops on our intercity travels but increasingly motorists as well as investors are also likely to see organic fast food shops that want us to park and eat there instead. 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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Eco Investor Media is the publisher of Eco Investor, a monthly magazine that is the best source of information on Australian listed and unlisted cleantech companies. The magazine helps investors to add and manage an environmentally positive theme to their share portfolio. We write about companies that solve environmental problems and sort them into those that make money and pay dividends and those that are early stage businesses and higher risk. You can read more about what we do here.

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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