Archive for the 'Investing' Category

Cleantech vs. Green

I found the following in a Google Finance discussion and thought it was really helpful. I should disclose that I’m a PZD shareholder… in case anyone out there takes my blog seriously. :) Rafael, I hope you don’t mind me syndicating this here:

Actually, as the Manager of the Cleantech Index, there is a significant difference between ‘greentech’ or ‘envirotech’ and ‘cleantech’. The former were coined in the 80’s and tended to refer to ‘technologies’ that focused on regulatory-driven businesses such as hazardous waste remediation and pollution control or was we like to call them ‘end-of-pipe’ solutions.

The gist of Cleantech is intellectual property and/or know-how (usually in the form of patents) that makes products better, cleaner, safer, and lower cost, whilst (and that’s the key word) reducing their consumption of resources (materials, energy, water, soil, etc.) and other negative externalities such as pollution, soil erosion, threats to public health (e.g., toxins in toys or seafoods), deforestation, etc. Anyway, a wise man once asked “who the heck wants green water? I want clean water.”

As explained in greater detail at www.cleantechindex.com, clean technology businesses and products cut across a broad spectrum of industry sectors from energy generation & transmission, to water, to agriculture, to industrial process, to software.

Unfortunately, ‘green’ has often become associated with slick marketing campaigns frequently used to promote many undeserving companies and products such as grain- or oil-seed-based fuels, numerous so-called ‘clean coal’ technologies, and highly polluting waste-to-energy plants, or companies such as BP, Tate & Lyle, or Archer Daniels Midland. Cleantech companies also tend not to be regulated utilities or commodity product producers with little proprietary technology (low-end filters, activated carbon, ethanol).

‘Green’ also tends to connote things like organic foods, healthy lifestyles, and non-technology-driven products and services. Those are fine things, but not cleantech. Our investment thesis is that real long-term economic profits tend to be highly correlated with
intellectual property (typically patents) and its continued development. Moreover, the Cleantech Index (that underlies the PowerShares Cleantech ETF (ticker: PZD) seeks companies that have critical “game-changing” technology-driven products and services need address (and profit from) the massive and accelerating challenges mankind faces from climate change, pollution, water and resource scarcity, etc.

I hope that I have cleared things up for you.

Best,
Rafael

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Altruism made easy…

It’s the last day of a beautiful three-day weekend and I’m sitting in my fancy new living room reflecting on the harmless self-indulgence of the past few days… comedy romp, bachelorette party, happy hours, “donuts,” movies… general-purpose yuppie fun. I often feel guilty for spending my free time (read: those few hours a week that are not occupied by work and subsistence) in a self-absorbed coma, but the following email I found in my inbox this morning reminded me that even when picking lint off of my socks, I’m “making a difference.”

Dear Seema Shah ,

The business you have loaned to, Taller de Bloques Maritza , has made a repayment of $75.00. The total amount repaid up to now is $450.00. The payment was collected and deposited by Kendall Mau. This repayment will be divided amongst all the lenders who helped to fund this business, depending upon the percentage each lender contributed. Note that you cannot actually withdraw or reloan these funds until after the loan term is complete.

To view your Kiva loan portfolio go to:
http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=account

With altruism made so easy, there’s really no excuse these days for being a leech on the world.

Yuppies & brats of the world… If your lavish lifestyle leaves you feeling depraved or conflicted, the next time you drop a Benjamin for a few drinks at some chichi lounge, negate your uselessness by loaning the same amount to someone here so that they may earn in one month what you consumed in one hour.

Lazy people, busy people, and broke-ass people of the world… if you feel like you can’t “give” because you haven’t the time or the money to donate, find a new excuse. If you have internet access, a bank account, and liquid assets of at least $25, you can loan money to the world’s working poor to improve their livelihood.

Capitalists of the world… If you’re looking for a new investment opportunity, recognize that positive returns are not always financial. Invest in an entrepreneur for whom failure is really not an option.

Earning Cash by Adam Nash

Okay, so the title is a bit silly (I couldn’t resist the rhyme), but I’m thrilled to learn that my friend and colleague Mr. Adam Nash is starting a “Personal Finance” series on his blog: http://psychohistory.wordpress.com/personal-finance/.

One of my goals for the year, as mentioned in an earlier post, is to gain more investment savvy. While I’ve been doing my part by devoting more time to researching funds and reading up on investment strategies, I’m still somewhat timid. For reference, I’m the kid who had to double up on floaties before jumping into the shallow end of the pool for the first time… I was certain I would sink. But taking pointers from someone who continues to be an incredible professional mentor will come quite naturally. Thanks, Adam!