The Carbon Clean 200 (Clean200) is a list of the 200 largest publicly traded companies making significant revenue from clean energy. After a period of outperforming the S&P Global 1200 Energy Index (fossil fuel benchmark), a series of global events converged to leave the Clean200 behind the fossil fuel benchmark for only the second time since its inception two years ago. However, the Clean200, when excluding Chinese companies, continued to outperform.
The greatest drag on the Clean200 comes from Chinese companies, which now represent 15 of the 20 worst performing companies on the Clean200. The escalating trade war between the US and China, which targets specific Clean200 categories (electricity transformers, lithium batteries and LEDs) has taken a heavy toll on Chinese stocks across the board, with the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index plunging 18% year-to-date.
The Clean200, excluding China, generated a 35.2% return over the past two years compared to its fossil fuel benchmark, the S&P 1200 Global Energy Index, which returned 23.5%.
Additionally, the Chinese government’s move this June to slash solar subsidies and quotas led to major drops in solar industry stock prices.
“No strategy outperforms in every period but given the large Chinese company component of the Clean200, it is remarkable that the Clean200 has held up so well against the triple whammy of U.S.-China trade war, surging oil prices, and the rolling back of Chinese solar subsidies,” Toby Heaps, CEO of Corporate Knights, said.
The three best performing Clean200 stocks over the past two years consist of Sumco Corp. (+226%), Bombardier (+163%), and Kingspan Group (+141%). Toyota Motor, Siemens AG, and Schneider Electric continue to top the Clean200 list with combined clean energy revenue of more than $100 billion USD.
“It is interesting to note that when you strip out Chinese stocks from the Clean200, it still outperforms the fossil fuel benchmark even during a period of volatility and policies aimed at harming clean energy companies,” Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, said. “The global transition to clean energy, that must happen to avoid climate catastrophe, continues regardless.”