National Ethical Investment Week – Investing In a Better World
Sunday 14 October marked the start of the 5th annual National Ethical Investment Week (NEIW) when advisers, investors, managers and corporations reflect on the economy, environment and society and how they are shaped by the world of finance and investment.
UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) runs the campaign sponsored by Ecclesiastical, The Co-Operative and CCLA, with the goal of exploring the opportunities investors have to make money in a responsible and ethical manner.
Last year nearly 350 financial advisers and 100 organisations got involved with NEIW through its 40 events held in over eighteen towns and cities across the UK and Ireland. In 2012, NEIW is even larger with new products and research being launched as well as a sizeable increase in supporters.
A new report prepared by YouGov for the campaign has revealed growing interest in ethical or green bank accounts and in “impact investments”, which deliver financial but also social or environment benefits. According to the study, in a one-year period the proportion of British adults interested in learning more about “impact investments” had risen significantly from 36 to 55 percent.
According to data compiled by the UKSIF, responsibly-invested assets managed in the UK have surged to over €1 trillion for the first time this year and represent 18 percent of the total European responsible investment market. The market is represented by investments in alternative assets such as water, forestry and clean energy as well as funds that have committed to uphold a certain ethical code in their management.
!m[A Week Long Discussion on How Investments Can Yield Profits and Make a Difference](/uploads/story/606/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)Penny Shepherd, co-ordinator of National Ethical Investment Week, said for the Independent: “2012 has seen the shareholder spring and a summer of banking scandals. It’s therefore no surprise that demand for green and ethical investment and finance is so strong. There is now almost a trillion pounds under responsible management in the UK. The simple message is that people want to make money and make a difference with their savings and investments.”
**Ethical Investments across the UK**
More and more investment schemes allow people to use their savings to support socially-responsible investments (SRIs). Such schemes include projects in the UK where local enterprises are set up, run and controlled for the benefit of the community. Bristol Energy issued shares in April 2012 that raised £120,000 from some 130 investors; the funds were used to install photovoltaic panels on two community buildings in the city, which will jointly produce around 27,600 kWh of green energy a year.
Abundance Generation started offering debentures to raise money for community renewable energy schemes. The innovative investment platform allows contributions of as little as £5 in green energy projects and the issued debentures can be presented as a gift. “Our new service provides the perfect way to start spreading the ownership of renewable energy. More urgently than ever we need to build a positive lobby for the industry, there is no better way of achieving that than building the number of people invested in the sector,” said Karl Harder, co-founder and director of Abundance, for BusinessGreen.
Coinciding with the start of this year’s NEIW, Panacea, the online community for financial advisers, launched a new section on its website meant to help advisers offer SRI choices to investors more easily. The service includes an online SRI fund database, a client microsite with SRI educational resources, and support materials for advisers who want to enhance their SRI offerings.
The National Ethical Investment Week began on Sunday 14 October and is scheduled to end on Saturday 20th.
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