Looking on the Environmental Side of Business

Josef Ray is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

Corporate giants that look outward, acknowledging their social and environmental responsibility, bring good to this world and are deserving of the world’s respect. They leave a legacy worth emulating by those who look up to them and follow their footsteps. Since their influence is global, they have a stronger and more powerful voice in their advocacies. In our day, “evil will triumph when good men do nothing.” Big companies have many good men in them, even in their highest hierarchy, and they can shape the outcome of most events in many cultures.

Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), one of the world’s largest financial services companies, is among the corporate giants that is actively involved in environment protection advocacies. On December 17, the latest stock market report tells that financials are among the best performers in the S&P 500 on Monday, led by Wells Fargo at $34.24 up $1.09, a 3.27% increase. Their EPS is 3.19 and P/E 10.79. On the same day, announcement was made that they are the newest member of the Ceres company network, a national network of investors, environment organizations, and other public interest groups working with businesses and investors that address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. Wells Fargo seeks to ensure that natural resources are protected and environmental, social, and economic needs are prioritized in their everyday decisions.

Rival company JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) in contrast, defends and supports one of the most destructive mining practices in the world, mountaintop removal coal mining, and continues to do so even  as other banks, including Wells Fargo, have cut ties to this practice. Mountaintop removal mining involves cutting down trees on huge portions of land and blasting the summits off of mountains to expose the black veins of coal underneath. Its impact is global that when mining companies deforest a mountaintop before demolition, they engage in a practice that contributes 25% to 30 % of greenhouse gas emissions each year. MTR miners often breach the law and corrupt the surrounding landscape in their mining operations. Obviously, growth and profit is the foremost reason for JPMorgan’s underwriting of MTR activities. It is known for a fact coal is still the top energy source for the US and the developing countries and American MTR companies play a role in providing coal for power companies in all parts of the world. Despite their support to this destructive operation, JPMorgan still commands a share price of $43.48 with EPS of 4.71 and P/E 9.24.

Another financial service company that supports and has its own environment initiative is PNC (NYSE: PNC). Their share price during the December 17 close is $57.87, with declared EPS of 4.93 and P/E of 11.75. The company has done much to spur environment causes and energize the green initiative. Among America’s top financial companies, they are first at implementing what they promise they would do to help keep the environment green. And they do it first right in their own yard. PNC now has more newly built “green” buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council than any other company in the world. As a result, they have cleaner indoor air, which helps improve the health and well-being of its employees. They are even going a step further by “deconstructing” existing buildings instead of demolishing them so that they could salvage or reuse more than 90% of materials that are otherwise destined for the landfills.

Each of these corporate giants has a story, the reader be the judge. But all things being equal, our happiness does depend on how much we have made life easier for the great many, even for those lower than ourselves.

JosefRayDagatan has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co., PNC Financial Services, and Wells Fargo & Company. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Wells Fargo & Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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