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ESG Investing Is Hot: Bunch of New ETFs Hit Market in August

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The environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) investing trend has remained a hot favorite among investors since the pre-outbreak period. Between 2018 and 2020, total U.S.-domiciled sustainably invested assets under management, both institutional and retail, skyrocketed 42% to $17.1 trillion, per a CNBC article.

Notably, BlackRock launched 93 new sustainable solutions in 2020, helping clients allot $39 billion to sustainable investment strategies, which drove a 41% increase in sustainable AUM from Dec 31, 2019. Investors intend to double their allocations to sustainable products over the next five years, per BlackRock and 20% of investors said that the pandemic has actually put their sustainable investing allocations on the fast-track mode.

Against this backdrop, ETF issuers have come up with a bunch of new ESG ETFs this month. Below we highlight those products.

Inside Nuveen Winslow Large-Cap Growth ESG ETF (NWLG - Free Report)

It is an actively-managed ETF that invests at least 80% of its net assets in equity securities of U.S. companies with market capitalization in excess of $4 billion at the time of purchase, and displays ESG features. The fund looks to pick quality companies with above-average earnings growth. The fund charges 64 bps in fees. The fund hit the market on Aug 4, 2021.

Inside Virtus Duff & Phelps Clean Energy ETF (VCLN - Free Report)

On the same day, the investing world witnessed the launch of introduction of the Virtus Duff & Phelps Clean Energy ETF (VCLN - Free Report) , the first ETF strategy managed by Duff & Phelps. The fund invests globally in a portfolio of clean, renewable, and sustainable companies and technologies that will power the energy needs of the future. Actively managed, VCLN picks market leaders that are into clean energy innovation and commercialization.

Enphase Energy Inc (7.06%), Orsted A/S (5.99%) and Vestas Wind Systems A/S (5.85%) are the top three stocks of the fund. The fund has exposure into various developed and select developing markets across utilities, industrials, technology, and energy sectors. The net expense ratio of the fund is 0.59%.

Inside BlackRock Future Climate and Sustainable Economy ETF (BECO - Free Report)

The fund hit the market on Aug 3. This one is also actively-managed. It offers exposure to companies addressing climate change across sustainable energy, future of transport, circular economy and nutrition. Companies that are shifting to a low-carbon economy are the top priorities. The expense ratio of the fund is 0.70%. Nextera Energy (3.08%), Crown Holdings (3.07%) and Deere (3.06%) are top three stocks of the fund.

Why the Euphoria for ESG?

Sustainability funds doubled in 2020 — and are set to increase by two more folds in Asia again, according to JPMorgan’s head of ESG research, Elaine Wu, as quoted on CNBC. Factors like Asian regulators requiring public companies to reveal their ESG data as well as pension funds’ and endowment funds’ request to their asset managers to consider ESG factors during the investment process will act as tailwinds for the space.

U.S. President Joe Biden to be known as promoting clean energy. The United States once again entered the Paris climate accord – adopted in 2016 – in the Biden era. Biden wants the United States to achieve a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions, no later than 2050 (read: Will ESG ETFs Flourish Under a Biden Presidency? Let's Explore).

Electricity consumption produced through clean energy technology is projected to more than triple from less than 10% of global consumption at present, to at least one-third of global consumption by 2035, per the Virtus’ factsheet.

Renewables are forecast to make up about 38% of U.S. electricity generation by 2050, with solar and wind, respectively, projected to make up about 46% and 33% of electricity generated by renewables. Such moves and measures indicate global response toward climate change and focus on ESG investing. 

Popular ESG ETFs in Focus

iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN - Free Report) , Invesco Solar ETF (TAN - Free Report) , iShares ESG MSCI U.S.A. ETF (ESGU - Free Report)  First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (QCLN - Free Report) and iShares ESG MSCI USA Leaders ETF (SUSL - Free Report) are some of the ETFs in the space that are ultra-popular.

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