Putting savings to good use – a personal experience

Hazel Mitchell writes about investing ethically

When my husband retired and received a modest lump sum we looked for a good way to support firms which had an ethical outlook, in order not to put money into fossil fuels, tobacco, arms, etc. We explored possibilities and came across Investing Ethically, advertising in The Friend.

It was founded in 2000 by Alan Kirkham – a Quaker. Alan was passionate about a simple idea that if each of us, as investors, can affect how our money is used collectively we can make a real difference to tackling the problems of the world. So IE was founded on Quaker principles and values such as honesty, transparency and simplicity which remain at the heart of the running of the business today.

This is not a new idea. Quakers in the 17th century avoided companies involved in slavery, weapons, tobacco or alcohol.  Pax World was launched in the USA in 1971 for investors not wanting to support the Vietnam War, and the first UK ethical fund – Stewardship – was started in 1984 by Friends Provident. The first specifically environmental fund – Jupiter Ecology – was launched in 1988.

As for IE, it has grown gradually and now has four directors and one employee, based in Norwich. In the last few years it has committed to being a Living Wage Employer, progressed to ‘Silver’ level on the Norfolk Carbon Charter and been a founding signatory to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter. They have won Sustainable Ethical Planner of the Year and been finalists in Small Adviser of the Year.

We are very well looked after by IE and are delighted to support, and be supported, by a business solidly based on values dear to Friends. We would be happy to give more information.

Editor’s note #1: In 2017 British Quakers were one of 14 Christian faith traditions to contribute specific faith guidelines to the Zug Guidelines for faith-consistent investing devised by Martin Palmer’s Bath-based charity ARC. This initiative has now become the international charity Faithinvest; British Quakers remain involved.

Since 2017 Quakers in Britain and dozens of other groups from eight major faith traditions the world have committed to their own distinct faith-consistent investment guidelines as part of a world-wide movement started in Bath and now called Faithinvest

Editor’s note #2: this article does not in any sense constitute financial advice. Other ethical investment services exist. Investments can go down as well as up, or as they say about cars YMMV (“your mileage may vary”).

If you want to advertise in The Friend (or subscribe, or send them an article) go to https://thefriend.org. As this article makes clear, it can yield excellent and long-lasting results.

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