The British summer – when it arrives is a wonderful time when we all complain that it is too hot and expect this to be a short-lived experience, one with remedied with regular ice lollies and ice cream and a little too much Pimm’s. The summer sports events begin and from an English perspective, invariably end soon thereafter. This year we have seen a rather better competitive endurance from the Lionesses at the women’s FIFA Football World Cup. Wimbledon has begun and we wonder whether the covers will soon appear as the rain makes an unwelcome, but regular appearance.
Many of us spend rather more time outside in the garden, soaking up the sunshine and struggle to make sense of hosepipe bans when just a few weeks earlier we were ankle-deep in rainwater. This brings its challenges to those of us that enjoy gardening. The summer also brings about rural and floral events. The RHS Hampton Court Flower Show has begun. The Tudor grounds are transformed into spectacular smaller gardens and rammed with exhibitors demonstrating their skills and ideas. It is a fantastic show that I would encourage you to attend. Conservation, sustainability and a good gin and tonic, and a three-in-one with one I tried earlier by Warner’s Distillery.
Sustainability in your portfolio
So how about sustainable investing? When I started as an adviser, rather too many summers ago, there were relatively few ethical funds at the time. The most famous was the Stewardship Fund, which was really the first ethical fund launched in the UK in 1984. This was under the backing of Friends Provident and run by the late Charles Jacob, who died 3 years ago at the age of 94. Jacob and Friends Provident both had their faith at the core of their why?
This year we have seen the introduction of 16-year old Greta Thunberg onto the world stage, and a climate crisis declared. Protests in London and David Attenborough took to the stage at Glastonbury, declaring it the largest plastic-free festival and encouraging us all to take climate change seriously whilst announcing a new series “Seven Worlds, One Planet”.
ESG is the new SRI is the new Ethical
Today, ethical investment has evolved, initially through SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) and now more recently ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). In truth the term ESG was first coined way back in 2004 in a study “Who Cares Wins”. The criteria have shifted, partly as the discussion about sustainability has evolved. In 1984, ethical investment meant not investing in certain companies in specific sectors. However not everyone holds the same views on alcohol or tobacco in the way that Methodists and Quakers did in 1984. In short, the ethical or SRI and ESG market is globally worth over $20 trillion. New funds have been launched all in attempt to meet the concerns of concerned investors.
Many of our clients prefer “ethical investing” or at least for their investments to be screened through the lens of ethics as far as it is possible to do so. There are now plenty of solutions, but certainly no obvious ones. The cost of investing is higher which is counter-intuitive for me as an adviser, but a price many are willing to pay. Returns vary, but one may take some comfort in the logic that ultimately surely those companies that adjust behaviour to reduce carbon emissions and so forth will ultimately be the long-term winners. Yet there are no certainties in life as we all know.
If you would like to discuss ethical investing, or however you would prefer to term it, please get in touch. Either email me or pick up the phone and call me on 020 8542 8084.
In the meantime, here is the trailer for the new series by Sir David Attenborough.
You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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