In a recent YouGov poll, commissioned by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), 53% of the respondents said they wanted to know more about government spending on energy infrastructure and 46% wanted to know about climate change initiatives. 4 out of 5 also said that they did not think that ethical finance options were easy to find. This information suggests that, although people are interested in environmental issues and how they are funded, they do not know how to go about investing in them. The UKSIF created Good Money Week to tackle this problem.
Originally, it was called National Ethical Investment Week, when it was started back in 2008, and its aim was to raise awareness of sustainable, responsible and ethical financial options. The initiatives it wants to guide people towards support clean energy, sustainable agriculture, communities, water supplies, education and employment, healthcare and retirement plans. Last year 470 financial advisers were involved and they held 55 events in 30 towns and cities across the UK.
This year, the events included lectures, talks and webinars with speakers such as:
- A former Bishop of Worcester
- The founder of Positive Money
- The CEO of Somerset Capital Management LLP
- Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blue and Green Tomorrow magazine
- Masters of Architecture students from Sheffield University
These and many more gave their advice live or over the internet throughout the week all around the country.
In addition to attending events, supporters of the campaign were encouraged to get involved by emailing their local MP to ask them to support the cause, tweet their bank about where their money is being invested and share infographics about the issues on Twitter and/or Facebook.
Examples of the kinds of schemes ethical financing supports are provided in the form of case studies on the website. One scheme is called Anafon Hydro. It is a hydro-electricity generating business supported by the people of Abergwyngregyn, a small village in Wales. To receive funding for this project, they will offer share options which conscientious investors can buy.
Another example is a young couple in Devon took out a mortgage from ethical bank, Triodos, to buy an eco-friendly camp site comprising space for tents, a bunkhouse, 3 yurts and a cafe.
Encouraging these types of developments is exactly what Good Money Week is about as well as providing expert advice on investments that provide good returns but also support good causes.