I'm looking to shift my IRA into index funds, but I don't want to invest in fossil fuels or other ecologically damaging companies (for example Coca Cola, which is privatizing water throughout the Americas).

Does anyone know of "green" index funds? Most of them focus on the largest companies, which are often the most damaging. I'm looking for sustainability.

http://charts.ussif.org/mfpc/ has been very helpful, but there aren't a lot of options with low fees (under .2%)

  • 1
    0.2% is fairly low for any mutual fund, and green funds are a niche market. I'm not sure it's realistic to expect to find green funds under 0.2% (although there may be a few out there, who knows).
    – BrenBarn
    Jun 19, 2014 at 3:57
  • Thanks, that's a good point. I'd read .2 was a good cap, but maybe I need to raise it.
    – Erica
    Jun 19, 2014 at 14:53
  • Consider the Guggenheim solar etf, ticker symbol TAN.
    – RohitJ
    Jun 19, 2014 at 18:41

2 Answers 2


Renewable energy ETFs are also an option. ETFs are traded like stocks and tend to have lower fees than Mutual Funds. Don't forget to inquire about the 12b-1 fee commonly tacked onto mutual funds. In some cases, the ETF's total fees are lower than the 12b-1 marketing fee a 'no-load' mutual fund charges.

One of the largest ETFs in the renewable energy sector is Guggenheim Solar. http://guggenheiminvestments.com/tan

According to this website, the average expense ratio is .46% http://etfdb.com/issuer/guggenheim/

The fund also provides exposure to emerging markets (China) and technology.



It doesn't meet your requirements completely but how about the Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund Investor Shares? (https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/snapshot?FundId=0213&FundIntExt=INT)

"This low-cost fund seeks to track a benchmark of large- and mid-capitalization stocks that have been screened for certain social, human rights, and environmental criteria. "

The expense ratio is 0.28%. The goals are more than environmental ones but it might be a place to start looking.

Obviously look at what the fund contains too because some funds, like the NBSRX (http://portfolios.morningstar.com/fund/holdings?t=NBSRX&region=usa&culture=en-US) are expensive and invest in companies like BP, even though they say they're socially responsible, which probably isnt' what you're looking for. See this article (http://www.kiplinger.com/article/investing/T041-C007-S001-five-great-green-funds.html) or look for BP capital markets in the funds holdings (http://www.nb.com/documents/public/en-us/monthly_fund_holdings.xls).

Some of the large funds like the Vanguard one might still have companies in them that are objectionable but outside of picking environmentally friendly companies yourself (which is hard) their might not be other good options.

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