When Al Gore talks, people listen. Just ask the folks who hand out Academy Awards and Nobel Peace Prizes.
Al Gore also talks to investors. Since 2007, the former Vice President in Bill Clinton’s administration has been preaching the benefits of putting your money where his mouth is: Alternative energy.
But if Al Gore has any message for investors today, it might very well be this: “Stay the hell away from alternative energy!”
Not that he would say so. At least out loud.
Reading through the promotional materials he puts out through his company, Generation Investment, it is hard to tell whether his “Client Update” is selling investments in his Climate Solutions Fund or memberships in theSierra Club.
“Scientific fundamentals continue to point to a need for urgent action on climate,” Gore says. Just like his Oscar-winning movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” it has lots of cool charts and graphics.
Climate policy is still firmly on the political agenda and corporate climate-related activity is increasingly strategic. Innovation is driving costs down and improving the business case for low carbon and high efficiency solutions.
This goes on for 20 pages. But even Gore does not seem to be listening anymore.
Gore’s company files a quarterly report with the SEC that tells a different story about the 30 stocks in its portfolio. His company’s public investments in wind, solar, biomass and other alternative energy to combat climate change are practically non-existent.
But his portfolio is top-heavy in high-tech, medical instruments, and even more pedestrian investments in companies such as Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY), Colgate Palmolive (CL),Nielsen (NLSN), Strayer University (STRA), and Qualcomm (QCOM).
He is also big in China, with stakes in a big Chinese travel agency, CTrip, and China’s largest medical equipment manufacturer, Mindray Medical.
And if you want a piece of the natural gas pipeline game — heavily dependent on the environmentally suspect fracking — you can find that in Gore’s portfolio as well with Quanta Services (PWR).
Generation Investment even had a piece of Staples (SPLS) at one point — but that was before anyone realized that was Mitt Romney’s love child.