Ethical Investment

I met several people in the finance-with-conscience crowd the other week, when I went for a spot of champers and Marmite soldiers at the House of Commons for National Ethical Investment Week.

I learned about various views on social and positive impact investment, and about elements of the Coalition Government’s “Big Society” and the proposed Green Investment Bank.

Ethical Investment appears to have come a long way since I put some money into a Fair Trade company many moons ago, where I knew I would never see a dividend, or even be able to sell the shares at some point.

Grown up people in sharp suits and big name frocks now do moral banking, and often reap a healthy return on their investment – “doing well” as well as “doing good”, as Adam Ognall of UK Sustainable Investment and Finance says.

I was challenged to think about what faith communities do with their money around a month ago, all precipitated by a conversation I had with Martin Palmer of the Alliance of Conservation and Religions, and then I heard something at a recent meeting that caused me to investigate a little… Continue reading Ethical Investment

Stop Climate Chaos : 2011 Campaign Idea

The Stop Climate Chaos coalition meet tomorrow to present and hear suggestions on Climate Change campaigning in 2011.

How are we going to make it zoom, people ?

From some of my project work with faith groups, I had this suggestion to make :-


Alliance with Ethical Investment groups

“Put your money where your mouth is”

Following on from the Church of England selling its shares in Vedanta :-

http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=9871

it was hoped that the Church of England investment portfolio would continue to be “cleaned up”. But there appears to be a long way to travel.

The Anglican Communion worldwide includes environmental protection as its “Fifth Mark of Mission”, and the Church of England is part of the international interfaith “seven year plans” :-

http://www.anglican.ca/search/faq/037.htm
http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr10009.html

but the Church Commissioners report in the last year has confirmed that the Church of England still holds shares in companies such as BP, responsible for ecological devastation of the Gulf of Mexico :-

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/12234

Groups such as the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility and National Ethical Investment Week are all active in encouraging communities to put their money where their mouth is – and the faith communities have a very large amount to play with :-

http://www.arcworld.org/about_ARC.htm
http://www.eccr.org.uk/AboutUs
http://www.neiw.org/about

With the launch of the Green Investment Bank – even though severely under-capitalised – there is a chance to tie up the questions to the answers.

If every consumer choice were a green choice, there would be no environmental problem. The only way to reach that point is for every contract, every stock and share, every procurement order, every transport vehicle, every energy source and every material resource to be green.

The choices that companies make in the business they conduct is based on the premise that people want what they sell so much they are prepared to invest directly in them as well as buy their products.

There are several levers for change here. Investment, such as pension funds, if moved in bulk, can have a de-securitisation effect on unsustainable business models. Not so much a “boycott” as a “landslide” of change.

The faith communities have already proved that they can change international commerce with the Fair Trade movement. Now it’s time for the Green Investment movement.


Climate Union : Sharing Principles

Image Credit : Gilbert & George, “Nettle Dance”, White Cube

I’m in the Climate Union. Are You ?

Soon we could all be, if the expansionist plans of a group of social campaigners come to fruition.

Taking in the unions, faith communities and the usual rag-tag bunch of issues activists, the Climate Union aims to establish itself as a political force for Low Carbon.

First of all, however, it has to tackle the uneasy and prickly problem of the exact name of the movement, and the principles under which it will operate.

The flag has been flown : a set of principles has been circulated for discussion amongst the “Climate Forum”. I cannot show you the finalised document yet, but I can offer you my comments (see below).

If you want to comment on the development of this emerging entity, please contact : Peter Robinson, Campaign against Climate Change, mobile/cell telephone in the UK : 07876595993.


Comments on the Climate Forum Principles
Jo Abbess
28 June 2010

I am aware that my comments are going to be a little challenging. I made similar comments during the review of the ClimateSafety briefing, which were highly criticised.

I expect you to be negative in response to what I say, but I think it is necessary to make sure the Climate Forum does not become watered-down, sectorally imprisoned and politically neutered, like so many other campaigns.

Continue reading Climate Union : Sharing Principles