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New exchange-traded fund for World Oceans Day is trying to save the seas

June 8, 2022, 4:07 PM UTC

A new exchange-traded fund, called the Newday Ocean Health ETF, has launched on the New York Stock Exchange in time for the United Nations’ World Oceans Day, focused on protecting and restoring healthy marine ecosystems.

Launched by Newday Impact, the fund—going under the ticker AHOY—claims to seek “long-term capital appreciation” through investments in companies that will combat ocean pollution and promote marine life.  

Its portfolio includes 80% of companies that are working to divert ocean-bound plastic waste, support sustainable fisheries, and control ocean acidification.

The remaining 20% of its holdings are tied up in Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, and Tesla—tech firms deemed not to be overtly hurting the globe’s water sources.

“Several sustainable investing ETFs are created by financial services companies that see marketing opportunities in the ESG space but include environmentally irresponsible companies to improve the fund’s performance,” said Doug Heske, CEO of Newday Impact, in a statement.

“Our Ocean Health ETF portfolio is 100% focused on companies with effective, legitimate green agendas, based on the knowledge and relationships we’ve built in our five years of impact investing.

“Someone can buy one share for $20 on the New York Stock Exchange and be an advocate for ocean health.”

What is an ‘Ocean Health Company’?

The AHOY ETF categorizes an “Ocean Health Company” as one that is combating the three ways in which ocean health is damaged: the discharge of excess nutrients that flow into water; end of life-cycle product waste especially pertaining to the presence of microplastics in the ocean; and increasing CO2 emissions.  

A fishier side to ocean ETFs

Its competitor, the IQ Clean Oceans ETF (OCEN), which seeks to track companies that help to protect or achieve cleaner oceans through reduced pollution and increased resource efficiency, is invested in Unilever and Procter & Gamble, the sixth- and seventh-largest producers of throwaway plastics that end up in the ocean, according to Greenpeace.

This ETF is down 15.8% since it was launched in October 2021.

But while AHOY ETF has a more diversified portfolio, it is also investing in Colgate-Palmolive, CVS, Cisco, Nike, Home Depot, HP, Adobe, Oracle, and others, bringing into question the ill-defined metrics of sustainability, and what may or may not count as promoting ocean health.

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