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A Practical Guide To Ethical Finance

We at Naturewatch Foundation are increasingly being asked by our supporters about the subject of ethical investment and Cruelty Free money.  Clearly this is an area of increasing concern, and it is something which we continue to publicise. 

Unwittingly, many supporters of Naturewatch Foundation may be directly financing companies which harm animals.  It doesn’t have to be this way, but it does require YOU to make a positive decision to have your money run on an ethical basis.  This can start from choosing your bank account and can go all the way to influencing where your company pension scheme money is invested. By applying socially responsible or ethical criteria to the use of your money within the 'system' you are making a stand for change. 

Many Banks lend to companies involved in factory farming, animal experimentation etc. Most banks lend to commercial organisations and, unless they have a specific policy to invest ethically, it is likely that some of their clients will be involved in such activities. Most Building Societies, and those that have converted to banks, can be considered 'ethically neutral' in that they only lend to individuals, not companies. However, they may invest their own funds in companies whose activities you disagree with.

The only high street bank with ethical criteria is the Co-operative Bank. However, as regards animal testing, they only avoid companies involved in animal experiments for cosmetic and household product testing purposes, and companies ‘involved in the exploitation of great apes’. A copy of their ethical criteria is available at;

www.co-operativebank.co.uk/aboutus/ourbusiness/ethicalpolicy

The Triodos Bank lends only to projects and enterprises which create social and environmental value, in fields such as renewable energy, social housing, complementary health care, fair trade, organic food and farming and social business. Of course, this will include organic animal farming. Triodos Bank also finances fair trade and microcredit organisations in developing countries.  For further information see;

www.triodos.co.uk/en/about-triodos

Ethical’ or ‘Socially Responsible’ stock market based funds can be linked to a wide range of financial products including ISAs, unit trusts and retirement planning products.

It is now increasingly common for Independent Advisers to recommend a consolidation service.  Essentially, the consolidation company provides a simple administrative wrapper around a range of external investments funds from a large number of investment and insurance companies.  All of a client’s eligible investments are held in a consolidated account, although the investments themselves are still made with the original ethical funds. By consolidating the administration in this way, a client receives regular statements from the consolidation company, listing the values of all of the investments.  Not only does this cut down on the amount of administration, but it also saves a very significant number of trees; good for you and good for the environment – the investment industry is notorious for its use of non-recycled paper.

From April 2015 new legislation came into force which allows anyone to take money from their pension fund from age 55. A Guide to Private pensions is available on the Ethical Investors website.

This article was provided by Ethical Investors, a group which provides specialist independent, financial advice to anyone concerned about animal welfare, environmental and humanist issues. They donate 50% of their net profits to the groups and charities specified by their clients.

Ethical Investors will make a donation to Naturewatch Foundation for any investments taken out through Ethical Investors, ensuing from this article.  If you contact Ethical Investors after reading this article, please mention that you heard about them through Naturewatch Foundation. Thank you.

For further information contact Chris Deacon at Ethical Investors’ South West Office on 01752 564434 or at 11A, Fredington Grove, Plymouth, PL2 3EA. (Email: deaconeig@aol.com) or visit their website:

Under the ‘Investing ethically’ section of the website can be found a link to ‘cruelty free money’.

Ethical Investors Group is Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
Ethical Investors is the trading name of Ethical Investors (UK) Ltd. Registered Office: Third Floor, Formal House, 60 St Georges Place, Cheltenham, GL50 3PN
Director: Lee V Coates OBE, Chartered Insurance Practitioner
Registered in England. Registered number: 2857294.

Statutory warning
The value of an investment can fall as well as rise.