20 Sustainable Stocks

Companies greening their operations and developing clean technologies

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Last week, we ran a package of stories on alternative energy, including a guide to green companies—a list of major players, midsize firms, and up-and-comers involved in clean energy. Today, I heard about SustainableBusiness.com's list (published in its Progressive Investor newsletter) of the 20 most innovative companies making progress in greening their operations or developing a clean-technology business. Note that some of these companies don't trade on U.S. exchanges, but a handful do (I've provided ticker symbols):

Accsys Technologies: A U.K.-based company that converts softwoods into a new type of wood with attributes similar to hardwoods

Apogee Enterprises (APOG): Specializes in green building and energy-efficient construction

Asahi Pretec: Japan-based recycler of precious metals

Canadian Hydro Developers: Owns and operates small hydropower and wind plants

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG): Serves food from organic farms, including 100 percentfree-range chicken and pork

Climate Exchange: Owns major carbon exchanges in the United States and Europe

First Solar (FSLR): Thin-film solar maker

Google (GOOG): Active in green initiatives

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ): Heavy on green business practices, including recycling equipment and improving printer efficiency

Interface (IFSIA): Modular carpet-maker that recycles tiles and uses biodegradable materials

International Business Machines (IBM): Designing technologies to drastically reduce energy use at customer data centers

Lindsay Corp. (LNN): Maker of efficient irrigation equipment

Natura Cosmeticos: Brazilian-owned cosmetics company that uses only natural ingredients

Ormat Technologies (ORA): Develops, builds, and runs geothermal power plants

Philips Electronics (PHG): The world's largest lighting manufacturer is focusing on energy-efficient lighting.

Solar Millennium AG: Germany-based solar utility that specializes in large-scale solar thermal power plants

Staples (SPLS): Incorporates green business practices, such as recycling used electronics

Suzlon Energy: India-based maker of wind turbines

TNT: Netherlands-based postal system operator that aims to become a zero-emissions transport company

WaterFurnace Renewable Energy: Maker of geothermal and water-source heat pumps