The world's largest stock exchange company has made a big commitment to green investing with the introduction of 66 new indexes that track the clean energy and environmental sectors, as well as sustainable economic development.
NASDAQ OMX introduced 46 Green Economy Sector Indexes on October 13 and on November 10 announced 20 more indexes in the same family. The company is looking to license the indexes for mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other investment products.
Previously, NASDAQ had only about eight indexes that tracked companies that fell in the green arena. Harry Tutwiler, vice president of NASDAQ's Global Index Group, called it a "rifle shot approach to specific green issues" because the indexes were developed to serve particular clients' needs. "What we're doing now is really addressing the green economy from a global level. We're looking at a universe of investable securities and breaking it down," he said. The company believes there's enough interest in green investing that having a family of indexes to offer "off the shelf" to clients now makes sense.
NASDAQ's green universe includes 447 companies around the world, and 360 of them are included in the family's Green Economy Global Benchmark Index, the broadest of NASDAQ's Green Economy Sector Indexes. NASDAQ turned to Rona Fried, president and CEO of SustainableBusiness.com, to identify companies to include in its indexes.
Fried said in the early 2000s there were just a few dozen publicly traded green companies. Companies need to have about 50% of their business involved in the green economy to be considered for the NASDAQ indexes. She said the goal is to be very comprehensive and offer choices in important sectors that others are leaving out. For example, she said, she knows of no other provider offering indexes that focus on green building and healthy living.
The Green Economy Sector Indexes also include indexes that track companies in recycling, pollution mitigation, financial, natural resources, water, lighting, transportation, bio/clean fuels, energy efficiency and renewable energy generation businesses.