Long term investment Don't feel blue

Huckleberry Hound is no longer the only blue dog in town.

by Brennan Azevedo 23 Aug 2017

The cartoon dog, who was actually the first animated series to win an Emmy Award in 1960, has been joined by street dogs in Mumbai who are turning blue after being exposed to industrial waste and dyes dumped into a local river by a manufacturing company.

The group of strangely colored canines was first spotted on 11 August, prompting locals to complain to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board about dyes being dumped in the Kasadi River, where the animals often swim.

Uncollected solid waste is a breeding ground for scavenging animals, vermin, insects and diseases that can spread and cause epidemics, so "efficient waste management is therefore essential for governments."

Analyst Alexander Stiehler believes that waste management is a critical service at the top of many countries' agendas. And as the global population surges, effective waste management and recycling offer interesting investment opportunities.

The waste sector has a market size of nearly USD 1.5trn per annum. It is expected to grow at a high-single-digit rate for the next several years and, by 2020, is projected to reach USD 2trn.

Stiehler has a longer term investment theme on waste management and recycling that suggests investors consider industrial, materials and utility companies and selected consumer staple and energy stocks that participate.

He notes that for every US dollar spent globally, about 47 grams of waste is produced, and by 2050 waste volumes are expected to more than double.

Several megatrends fuel the demand for efficient waste management. They include population growth, rising living standards, public health, industrialization and urbanization in emerging markets, and the tendency toward shorter product life cycles of electronic devices.

"In addition, if the global economy falters, local governments in China and elsewhere will focus less on waste and the environment, leading to slower treatment demand growth. In developed countries, the risks are different. Here, companies face the danger of declining waste volumes and waste treatment overcapacity," Stiehler says.

CIO has a positive view on the waste industry in the US and emerging markets, but think investors must be more selective in Europe.

And hopefully the potential opportunities in waste management and recycling won't leave you feeling blue.

Main contributor: Joe Melvin