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These are the most popular sustainability stocks from the US

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The highest performing renewable energy stock returned 460% last year.

Matt Leibowitz is the founder of share trading platform Stake and a guest contributor at Finder. The views and opinions expressed in this article (which may be subject to change without notice) are solely those of Matt's and do not necessarily reflect those of Finder and its employees.

With climate change becoming a huge focus in Australia and around the world, there's little doubt that leaders in the sustainability and renewables arena are in line to become the market winners of the future.

And the US has some of the biggest players. If you're looking at investing in green companies that are making a difference, check out some of the most popular sustainability stocks and ETFs of 2019 below:

1. Tesla (TSLA) +39.9% (12 months to Dec)
Everyone knows the story here. A genius turned generational icon, Elon Musk is pushing towards sustainability by doing away with petrol-powered cars. Tesla is the largest producer of electric vehicles in the world, rolling out over 350,000 vehicles in 2019.

2. Beyond Meat (BYND) +28.1%
Another company all over the news, Beyond Meat is making a meat-free lifestyle more accessible to the masses. The company specialising in “the future of protein” produces vegetable-based meat substitute from snags to burger patties.

3. Nio (NIO) -49.4%
A company you probably haven’t heard of, essentially Nio is the Tesla of China. While just a fraction of the size of Tesla, Nio sold ~18,000 vehicles in 2019 across its 3 models. Read more about it below.

4. Enphase (ENPH) +460.5%
One of the market’s biggest success stories in 2019, Enphase is a solar energy company based in sunny California. With a focus on residential solar, Enphase is allowing more and more families to live a sustainable life.

5. Plug Power (PLUG) +138.1%
Another powerhouse last year, if you pardon the pun, Plug produces hydrogen-powered battery cells for electric vehicles and equipment. Its customer list ranges from BMW to General Motors.

There’s an ETF for that…

We see ETFs for every theme and strategy under the sun, if you pardon the pun.

Yes, there is a solar ETF. Issued by Invesco, $TAN is up 60.3% in the last year. The ETF tracks 25 stocks selected by the relative importance of solar to its business model. Well, this strategy has shone brightly on all $TAN investors.

Sustainable ETFs are not limited to solar. First Trust has issued a global wind energy ETF ($FAN). While investing in companies from the US, Portugal, Denmark and many more, $FAN has added 22.5% in the last year. How about those ticker codes too.

Car Wars

Everyone knows about Tesla and its incredible rally. In early February, it rose by more than 40% in a couple of days alone and it's now up over 23x since its IPO in 2010.

While Tesla is the undisputed king, China and Canada are also active in the game. For example, Nio ($NIO) is a Shanghai-based EV manufacturer. While it’s down 75% since IPO, the tables may be turning as the stock price has climbed 145% in the last 3 months.

Vancouver-based Electra Meccanica (SOLO) is also making strides by producing electric microcars. The one-person three-wheelers are the main focus of the US$82m company – a fraction of the size of its international competitors.

The most popular US stocks of 2019

Outside of the renewables space, Tesla is still the most popular US stock of 2019 by Australian investors.

Regardless of your beliefs around sustainable energy, it goes to show that there are plenty of people backing Elon Musk's vision.

Below are the most traded US stocks by Australians in 2019 along with the biggest winners.

Most traded stocks in 2o19

  1. Tesla (TSLA) +34.9%
  2. Disney (DIS) +32.7%
  3. Apple (AAPL) +85.9%
  4. Microsoft (MSFT) +55.9%
  5. Amazon (AMZN) +20.1%

2019’s 5 biggest gainers

  1. Axsome (AXSM) +3756%
  2. Stage Stores (SSI) +1041%
  3. Durect Corp (DRRX) +603%
  4. Sea Limited (SE) +264%
  5. Sibanye Gold (SBGL) +248%

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involve substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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