The 5 Best Performing ESG ETFs

ETFs employing active and passive strategies making ESG a priority are showing promise.

Jeff_Benjamin
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Wealth Management Editor
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Reviewed by: etf.com Staff
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Edited by: Kent Thune
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Best Performing ESG ETFs

ESG ETFs, or exchange-traded funds that track a basket of companies that meet certain environmental, social and governance criteria, have produced mixed performance results in their 20-plus years of existence.

 

Over the past year, however, ETFs employing active and passive strategies making ESG a priority are showing promise.

 

Of the ETFs screened by etf.com as following an ESG mandate, many are beating the broad market SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), which posted a 12-month gain of 29% and a year-to-date gain of 10.2%.

 

The following is a list of the top five performing ESG ETFs tracked by etf.com.

ClearBridge All Cap Growth ESG ETF

The ClearBridge All Cap Growth ESG ETF (CACG) is an actively managed ETF that invests in a diversified portfolio of large, mid, and small-capitalization stocks with the potential for above-average long-term earnings and/or cash flow growth. The fund also considers environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors when selecting its investments.

 

CACG is currently undergoing a reorganization and will be renamed the ClearBridge Large Cap Growth ESG ETF effective June 14, 2024. Investors in CACG will automatically receive shares of the new fund.

 

  • 1 year return through March 31: 38%
  • Year to date return through March 31: 10.1%
  • Assets: $124.8 million
  • Expense ratio: 0.54%
  • Inception: May 2017
  • Issuer: Franklin Templeton

iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA Growth ETF

The iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA Growth ETF (EGUS) combines growth potential with environmental, social, and governance considerations. The growth focus involves investments in large and mid-capitalization U.S. companies.

 

The fund prioritizes companies with positive environmental practices, strong social responsibility, and good corporate governance. EGUS excludes companies involved in industries like civilian firearms, controversial weapons, tobacco, thermal coal and oil sands.

 

  • 1 year return through March 31: 39.3%
  • Year to date return through March 31: 10.9%
  • Assets: $6 million
  • Expense ratio: 0.18%
  • Inception: January 2023
  • Issuer: BlackRock

ClearBridge Large Cap Growth ESG ETF

The ClearBridge Large Cap Growth ESG (LRGE) is an actively managed fund focused on investing in large-capitalization companies with high future earnings growth potential.

 

The investment process prioritizes companies with positive ESG attributes and includes a concentrated portfolio of around 43 stocks. The top 10 holdings represent more than half the total assets in the fund.

 

  • 1 year return through March 31: 40.7%
  • Year to date return through March 31: 12.3%
  • Assets: $6 million
  • Expense ratio: 0.18%
  • Inception: January 2023
  • Issuer: BlackRock

Invesco ESG NASDAQ 100 ETF

The Invesco ESG NASDAQ 100 ETF (QQMG) is designed to track the performance of companies listed on the Nasdaq-100 Index that also meet environmental, social and governance criteria.

 

QQMG invests in the top 100 non-financial companies, based on market capitalization, listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market, but focuses on those that pass specific ESG screens. The underlying index considers ESG factors when selecting companies. This ensures the ETF prioritizes companies with positive environmental practices, strong social responsibility and good corporate governance.

 

  • 1 year return through March 31: 41.1%
  • Year to date return through March 31: 9.8%
  • Assets: $39.6 million
  • Expense ratio: 0.2%
  • Inception: October 2021
  • Issuer: Invesco

Nuveen Winslow Large-Cap Growth ESG ETF

The Nuveen Winslow Large-Cap Growth ESG ETF (NWLG) is an actively managed fund that focuses on investing in large-capitalization U.S. companies with high growth potential, while also considering environmental, social, and governance factors.

 

NWLG invests at least 80% of its assets in companies with a market capitalization exceeding $4 billion at the time of purchase. Unlike typical ETFs that disclose their holdings daily, NWLG's holdings are not publicly available every day due to its active management style.

 

  • 1 year return through March 31: 45.3%
  • Year to date return through March 31: 13.6%Assets: $7.4 million
  • Expense ratio: 0.65%
  • Inception: August 2021
  • Issuer: TIAA

Jeff Benjamin is the wealth management editor at etf.com, responsible for coverage related to the financial planning industry. This includes writing, hosting podcasts, webinars, video interviews and presenting at in-person events.


Jeff is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years’ experience covering the financial markets. He has won more than two dozen national and regional awards for his reporting. He most recently worked as a senior columnist at InvestmentNews where he wrote about investment products and strategies, as well as the broader financial planning industry. Prior to that, Jeff worked as an analyst at Cerulli Associates where he researched and wrote reports on the alternative investments industry. Jeff also worked as a money management reporter at Dow Jones Newswires, where he covered the mutual fund industry.


Based in North Carolina, Jeff is a former Marine and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.