Jolly Green Giants: The 7 Best ESG Stocks to Buy Now


  • Microsoft (MSFT): Microsoft is an all-around giant in the ESG ecosystem.
  • Mastercard (MA): Mastercard is one of the leaders in promoting equity in the digital economy.
  • Caterpillar (CAT): Caterpillar isn’t natively an ESG player but offers important relevancies.
  • You can promote the greater good and still profit with these best ESG stocks to buy.
Best ESG Stocks to Buy - Jolly Green Giants: The 7 Best ESG Stocks to Buy Now

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At first glance, the idea of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments might seem more like a “heart” narrative as opposed to a financial one. In other words, in a perfect world, everyone would choose to support the best ESG stocks to buy. However, in a paradigm of limited resources, some things have to go. Usually, that something is anything related to moral directives.

However, the concept that doing right must necessarily come at the expense of the bottom line might need a rethink. That may have been the case in a more cynical time. But these days, the emerging consumer cares deeply about sustainability and other holistic endeavors. Indeed, fostering a reputation for not prioritizing sustainability and other morally desirable attributes can hurt the bottom line.

Plus, multiple organizations have started to call attention to the top performers in the ESG circuit. Earning these awards can lead to additional eyeballs. With that in mind, below are potentially the best ESG stocks to buy.

Microsoft (MSFT)

Wide angle view of a Microsoft sign at the headquarters for personal computer and cloud computing company, with office building in the background.. MSFT stock
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Tech giant Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is no stranger to innovation and overall business prowess. However, it would be remiss to have a discussion of the best ESG stocks to buy and not include MSFT. According to Investor’s Business Daily, the software (and hardware) juggernaut took the top spot in the publication’s 100 Best ESG Companies for 2023. I wouldn’t be surprised if took the checkered flag in first again for 2024.

Microsoft offers so many initiatives covering sustainability and other holistic efforts targeting broader wellness and equity that it’s difficult to cover in any single article. For me, one of the most impressive ambitions that the company forwarded is its aim to be carbon negative – not just neutral – by 2030. By that, we’re talking about being profitable or accretive for the environment, rather than merely mitigating the damage done.

Beyond that, the company has been killing it financially. In the past four quarters, its average earnings surprise has come out to 7%. Fiscal 2024 earnings per share may hit $11.79 on sales of $244.92 billion. That would be up 20.2% and 15.6%, respectively, from last year.

Mastercard (MA)

Close up of a pile of mastercard credit load debit bank cards.
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One of the biggest financial services firms in the world, Mastercard (NYSE:MA) is well known for its credit solutions. It also happens to be ranked among the best ESG stocks to buy. In particular, the company has a focus on empowerment. First, it fosters an ecosystem of diversity and opportunity, enabling individuals to reach their top potential.

Second, Mastercard is attempting to merge the power of technology and the social need for equity together. Specifically, it wants everyone to participate in the digital economy, and is thus focused on connecting individuals to tools and resources that will enable them to reach prosperity. Finally, the credit services specialist is accelerating its efforts to promote a low carbon, regenerative economy.

Notably, these initiatives are not coming at the expense of financial performance. Between the second quarter of 2023 to Q1 2024, the company’s average EPS hit $3.12. This translated to an earnings surprise of 3.35%.

Analysts see EPS in fiscal 2024 reach $14.32 on sales of $27.85 billion. That would come out to 16.8% and 11% up, respectively, against the prior year.

Caterpillar (CAT)

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On the surface, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) might not immediately sound like one of the best ESG stocks to buy. As an industrial equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar plays a pivotal role in resource mining and energy projects. While these are no doubt important roles, such operations aren’t exactly holistically helpful for the environment. Still, CAT is actually one of IBD’s top ESG plays, ranked number six last year.

While mining and manufacturing operations lead to a broader impact, Caterpillar is also engaged in helping to minimize carbon emissions. As well, the company is supporting its enterprise-level customers through new products, technologies and services to help facilitate reduced emissions. Plus, some of the resources that Caterpillar indirectly helps extract – like lithium – can potentially yield positive results through the ultimate end product (i.e. electric vehicles).

Even better, the financials don’t appear to have suffered from its ESG efforts. In the past four quarters, the company’s average earnings surprise reached 3.35%. For fiscal 2024, analysts anticipate EPS of $14.32 on sales of $27.85 billion, up 16.8% and 11%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis.

Bunge (BG)

A Photo of a blue sign in an industrial campus showing the Bunge (BG) logo.
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Based in Chesterfield, Missouri, Bunge (NYSE:BG) plays a key role in the global food supply chain. In terms of industry, it falls under the farm products sector. Per its public profile, Bunge operates as an agribusiness, providing vital commodities such as oilseeds, grains (comprising of wheat and corn) and products for animal feed manufacturers.

Because the company depends such much on a healthy environment, it’s no surprise that BG ranks among the best ESG stocks to buy. According to its website, one of the Bunge’s initiatives involves reducing greenhouse gas emissions and unlocking opportunities for sustainable growth. It also launched a program to help accelerate regenerative agriculture.

If ever the criticism comes that “do-gooder” organizations can’t succeed financially, Bunge will prove doubters wrong. In the past four quarters, its average EPS clocked in at $3.36. During this period, the average earnings surprise soared to 27.55%. That’s wildly impressive.

Admittedly, analysts anticipate a slowdown in fiscal 2024. However, the high-side revenue target of $62.38 billion may represent a nearly 5% growth rate from last year. Either way, analysts rate shares a consensus moderate buy.

Mondelez (MDLZ)

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A confectionary giant, Mondelez (NASDAQ:MDLZ) has delighted generations of consumers. It also happens to be one of the best ESG stocks to buy for its wide-ranging initiatives. According to its website, Mondelez has achieved a 100% success rate in implementing over the past four years food safety schemes that were benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative.

As well, 48% of the electricity used in its manufacturing sites have been sourced from renewables. That’s a sizable improvement over the 40% usage metric seen in 2022. So, Mondelez isn’t just talking the talk, it’s walking the walk. In addition, the company has stressed its social equity initiatives, fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion.

In the past four quarters, Mondelez posted an average EPS of over 84 cents. This performance translated to an average earnings surprise of 7.08%. Therefore, even with such a strong focus on ESG directives, the financial print remains robust.

For fiscal 2024, analysts are anticipating EPS may reach $3.50 on sales of $36.84 billion, up 9.7% and 2.3%, respectively, on a year over year basis.

Marriott (MAR)

The front of a Marriott (MAR) building featuring the company name and logo.
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A multinational organization, Marriott (NASDAQ:MAR) operates, franchises and licenses lodging brands. Primarily, the enterprise focuses on hotels, though it’s also involved in residential and timeshare properties. Presently, its portfolio covers over 30 hotel and timeshare brands at 8,785 locations. With the sustained interest in traveling and similar experiential expenditures, MAR could swing higher.

Just as well, the company is succeeding under a framework of holistic positivity. By 2025, Marriott aims to have 80% of managed hotels participating in community service activities. In addition, it’s putting money into the mix to develop hospitality skills and opportunities among youth, diverse populations, women, people with disabilities and veterans and refugees.

With such a strong commitment to improving society’s bottom line, some might wonder about Marriott’s own financials. Don’t worry – in the past four quarters, it posted EPS of nearly $2.52. This translated to an earnings surprise of 17.8%.

For fiscal 2024, covering experts do see a possible dip in EPS. However, they’re also targeting revenue of $25.45 billion, up 7.3% YOY. Additionally, their blue-sky sales target for that year stands at $26.21 billion. Thus, MAR could rank among the best ESG stocks to buy.

Clean Harbors (CLH)

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A provider of environmental and industrial services, Clean Harbors (NYSE:CLH) makes an organic case for the best ESG stocks to buy. Part of its business involves the always critical hazardous waste disposal solution for companies, small waste generators and government agencies. Through its expansionary efforts, Clean Harbors features approximately 400 service locations in North America. These include over 50 hazardous waste management facilities.

As the company states on its website, its business is sustainability. When circumstances go wrong, Clean Harbors is effectively a first responder for the environment and for overall social wellness. Thus, part of the bullish narrative for CLH stock centers on its natural monopoly. While other enterprises can compete with Clean Harbors, the barriers – including regulations – are quite steep.

Financially, the company enjoyed a solid outing over the past four quarters except for Q3 2024. That turned out to be a sizable miss. Still, the average earnings surprise during the aforementioned period landed at 0.45%.

For fiscal 2024, experts anticipate 7% growth in EPS to hit $7.48. Also, sales could rise 9% to reach $5.89 billion. It’s easily one of the best ESG stocks to buy.

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare. Tweet him at @EnomotoMedia.

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