Inflation is a problem for sustainable investors — but these stocks will ride it out, Bernstein says

Aerial photo taken on May 28, 2021 shows farmers planting euryale seeds under photovoltaic panels in Huai 'an, Jiangsu Province, China.
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Rising inflation can be a "big problem" for sustainable investors, according to Bernstein, which named the best stocks to ride out this trend.

The bank said that inflation, and the potential for higher inflation, reflect "the single most important narrative" driving markets and investor concerns this year.

It's already impacted environmental, social and governance (ESG) stocks in a big way. Clean energy stocks are down roughly 20% this year on an absolute basis, while energy, commodities, defense and tobacco stocks have all outperformed. This sharp contrast comes despite flows into ESG funds continuing at a record pace.

Rising prices will likely continue to pose a significant challenge for ESG funds in particular, Bernstein said, but added that there are a number of ways for these investors to lower their risk exposure.

In a note published June 10, Bernstein screened for ESG stocks in the U.S., Europe and Asia that are best positioned for rising inflation.