In November last year, the National Trust came under fire from environmentalists. The cause for criticism was easy to see, the independent British charity, known for its focus on heritage and conservation, had been found to have invested £30m in companies linked to fossil fuels, in a move that seems starkly paradoxical to the charity’s own sustainability objectives.
The National Trust was quick to respond to the media focus, and swiftly put out a statement reinforcing its own sustainability credentials. The charity’s reputation was saved, but the media storm left an important lesson for all investors, especially those in the public eye. Although inadvertently, the National Trust left us with a powerful reminder that our investments send out a public message of endorsement – and we should consider investing in products and companies that match our own private or business goals.
The National Trust wasn’t the first investor to be criticised for their choice of investments, and they certainly won’t be the last. But savvy investors should do their research, choosing not just products that seem set to make a profit, but also those that promise social and environmental good. The modern investor should spend time interrogating their own values – whether on a personal or corporate level – and research how these can be translated into intelligent investment choices.
If your business prides itself on supporting innovation, chose to invest in bright new companies fuelled by fresh talent. If you champion sustainability goals at work, opt for green investments that benefit both purse and planet. By using your investments conscientiously, you put power on companies to forge social change. In an increasingly ethically-aware marketplace, you also seek to benefit from embracing popular morality-led trends. Just imagine if you’d invested in bamboo cups two years ago!
For businesses, ethical investment has additional value, in that it makes for excellent PR. Your participation in progressive social causes is something that can be shared with stakeholders and clients and, in a world increasingly conscious about social and environmental credentials, is something that can give you the edge in bids to tender.
And so there’s a simple message we can take away from the National Trust. Companies that responsibly invest in products aligned with their goals starve off accusations of hypocrisy by putting their money where their mouth is. They seek to profit not just by returns on investments in financial form, but also in boosted brand reputation. Here at Stable Rise we work alongside our clients to develop portfolios that are closely aligned with their objectives. Contact us today to see how we can bring extra ethical value to your investments.