In this, the third National Ethical Investment Week (NEIW) the elephant in the room appears to be the question “how do you know if your investment is ethical?”
With so many terms and acronyms out there; ‘ethical investment’, ‘SRI’, ‘positive impact investment’ how do you navigate the jargon to find the investment that is right for you? The question was addressed by Victoria Woodbridge of EIRIS at our ECCR meeting last night where she made the point that if you are engaging with your finances, you are likely to be involved in ethical investment at some level. Increasingly, people are looking at who is taking care of their money for them. We all make choices based on what we think the best thing to do with our money is. How and what you choose, is of course an entirely personal issue. We all have our personal ethics and issues we do or do not wish to support, from supporting companies investing in renewable energy to not supporting those investing in weapons. In short, what makes ethical investment ethical is whether or not it matches your own values, and naturally, nobody will have the same values or priorities as anyone else.
NEIW openly uses the example of fair trade to demonstrate how the public already marry their consumer power with their values. Those supportive of the fair trade movement are being encouraged to consider their ethical investment options. This campaign isn’t just aimed at individuals; it has been widely acknowledged that faith groups within the UK had a substantial effect on the popularity of Fairtrade products. NEIW is hoping to engage these groups further, using them to raise awareness of ethical investment options within the UK.
Earlier this week I hosted the event ‘How to invest ethically: Opportunities for churches and individuals’ in collaboration with Just Share. The aim was to highlight the variety of ethical investment opportunities available to faith groups and individuals, encouraging those who already have a commitment to fair trade to consider their options. I joined representatives from Triodos, Oikocredit and Arcubus on a panel that answered questions from the audience. What became apparent from the questions asked is that we, as part of the ethical investment movement need to push harder to raise awareness of the products available, forcing products such as our Ordinary Share Account into the mainstream. Please see the video below.
If fair trade is one of your ethical concerns why not take a look at www.shared-interest.com and find out how we’ve been combining fair trade and ethical investment for the last twenty years.
Click here to learn how you can invest in fair trade.
Click here to donate to the Shared Interest Foundation