Does Socially Responsible Investing Work? [Tesla Motors Inc, SolarCity Corp, Clean Harbors Inc]

investJay Taylor: It’s a topic on a lot of investors’ minds lately. Does socially responsible investing work?

“Would my retirement account benefit from socially responsible investments instead of investments in oil & natural gas?”

First we have to figure out what “socially responsible investing” really is. Part of the complication here is how one defines “socially responsible.” A case could be made that natural gas companies help us move away from oil and this is of great benefit to society

I prefer to go a step further. Let’s look at some investment opportunities that are actually making society better, not just making is “less bad.”

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) 

Tesla appears to be the first company to make eco-friendly cars cool. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the environmental impact of producing these cars and their high-tech lithium batteries is negated by the long-term use of electric cars. Still, the concept that a car could be charged by solar power and then driven without the use of gasoline is an exciting prospect for society.

Famed entrepreneur Elon Musk is the most high-profile name behind Tesla Motors.

The stock is down almost 14% since the beginning of March but is still up 33% year-to-date and almost 300% over the past year. It’s hard for me to recommend a stock with that kind of recent performance, especially considering that the company isn’t yet making money.  But the future looks bright for this company and I personally own shares of this electric-auto maker.

SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) 

Another brainchild of Elon Musk, SolarCity is engaged in designing, installing and financing solar energy systems to both residential and commercial customers. The company also sells solar power and offers efficiency evaluations and upgrades. This is a company that is helping move our energy use to solar and helping to make our homes and businesses more efficient.

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