It has become fashionable over the last several years to "go green". That is, to buy products and use materials in a manner that is eco-friendly. However, it's not just individuals that have gotten in on this trend. Many major corporations, some of which had previously been labeled as polluters, have also adopted eco-friendly ways as a means of saving two precious assets, Mother Earth and money.

Below are five companies that are taking strides to become "green". The nice thing is they are also kicking off some serious greenbacks for their shareholders.In no particular order, they are:

Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ)
The well-known maker of computer hardware owns recycling plants and reports on its website that during 2007 it reached its long-term goal of recycling one billion pounds of computer hardware and supplies. The company has a long history of product recycling practices, having first launched its recycling program in 1987.

This year, Wall Street expects the company to earn $2.87 per share. In 2008, the consensus estimate is $3.26 per share. Very simply, based upon these earnings, I think that the stock could trade north of $60 within a year's time - not too bad at all, and with its recycling programs you can feel good about your investment's impact on the environment at the same time.

In recent years, the California-based electric company has worked to rebuilt its business reputation and its environment record. In fact, the company has been a big supporter of establishing mandatory controls on greenhouse gases and is pushing for federal legislation. Also CNN Money reports that the company has a pilot project in the works where cow manure is being turned into electricity!

In terms of earnings, Wall Street expects the company to generate $2.79 a share this year and $3.04 a share next year. That implies a roughly 9% rate of growth, and as a bonus it pays a dividend with a current yield of about 3%.

Carnival Cruise Lines (NYSE:CCL)
The cruise operator is working to control emissions by using more fuel-efficient engines. It is also working to improve hull and fuel tank safety in order to prevent leaks.

I'm particularly bullish on Carnival and its future due to the demand for cruises and the attractive ports of call that the company services. Earlier this month I wrote a piece on the company where I explained that analysts were looking for it to earn $2.94 a share this year and $3.26 a share next. Those estimates have not changed, and I still feel that this could be a $60 stock within a year's time.

Citigroup (NYSE:C)
While most people don't think of Citi as a "green" company, it's doing its fair share. In addition to its existing green initiatives, the big name bank recently erected an eco-friendly building in New York (To learn more about the building project, see the company press release.)

Ok, so it's fair to ask, "can office buildings really be eco-friendly?" Well, apparently they can. According to the company, some workstations, carpeting and furniture were made from recycled materials or through an eco-friendly process. In addition the company plans on saving about two million gallons of water per year through the installation of efficient plumbing fixtures and a storm water recycling system.

Although the lingering credit crunch remains an issue, Citi is expected to earn $3.76 a share this year and $4.71 a share next year. In short, I think that Citi is a great play, and I admire its ability to generate solid earnings while maintaining a concern for the environment.

Pepsi (NYSE:PEP)
Pepsi is a sponsor for the Live Earth concerts, and it has also committed itself to using more solar energy and has purchased renewable energy credits. Finally it's doing a good deal to promote recycling both in its plants and among its customers.

Pepsi is expected to earn $3.38 a share this year and $3.74 a share in 2008. It also sports a dividend with a current yield of 2%. If Pepsi keeps rolling ahead, I think this could be an $80 stock with a year.

The Bottom Line
As you can see that there are a number of big name companies that are operating in an eco-friendly manner. Frankly, I think they deserve a second look for both their green ways and their ability to generate big dollars for their shareholders.

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