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This week – 18th to 24th October – is Good Money Week, an initiative aimed at increasing awareness of ethical or socially responsible investing. We all have the possibility of using our money to invest responsibly and as our world faces the huge challenges presented by rapid population growth, scarcity of resources, increasing social inequality and climate change, more and more investors are looking to invest in ways that are in harmony with their ideals.
Ethical investors want their money to be used as a force for good which benefits society and has a positive impact on the environment. The problem with ethical investing historically is that it came with a price, namely lower returns, but the times they are a-changing. With an ever-expanding choice of socially responsible funds, it is possible to be true to your beliefs when investing and still make good profits.
Here are five facts about ethical investing:
The Quakers are generally accepted to be the first ethical investors who took a moral stance by refusing to do business with companies involved in war or slave labour in the 1800s and advocated temperance and fair working conditions.
It was the brainchild of two Methodist ministers as a reaction to the Vietnam War and caught the public’s imagination in the US where many people were angry at the companies producing the chemicals used in warfare and the effects they were having on Vietnamese children.
According to figures from EIRIS – the UK’s Ethical Investment Research and Information Service – the amount invested in the UK’s green and ethical retail funds has grown from £199mn in 1989 to over £15bn in 2015.
It is estimated that there are now around 100 socially responsible funds available to UK investors although the criteria used to determine their ethical status will vary enormously. Research is key in order to work out which ones fit with your own personal beliefs.
There is a wealth of information about ethical investing on the yourethicalmoney.org website which was launched in 2009.
If you would like to find out more, our professional financial advisers would be happy to talk you through your options to enable you to make informed decisions and invest in line with your values.