Ethical investing: time to put our money where our mouth is?

As consumers, we are getting better at minimising our impact on the environment: from cycling or walking instead of driving to recycling as much of our household waste as possible.

Given an incentive, we’ll make even more of an effort: before the 5p charge on plastic bags was introduced in October 2015, each of us was using around 140 a year. Now we use 25* and there has been a 30% drop in single-use bags found in the seas around Britain.

But while we’ve been happy to take action in our everyday lives, when it comes to our investments we’ve been a little slow on the uptake. Although ethical funds have been available for three decades now, of the £1,231 billion invested by UK retail investors, just 1.3% (£16.3 billion) is in ethical funds**.

Time to put our money where our mouth is?

29 September 2018 marks the start of ‘Good Money Week’. The annual campaign is designed to raise awareness of sustainable and ethical options when it comes to your bank, pension, savings and investments.

To mark the occasion, here are our Elite Rated ethical funds: funds that can make a profit without sacrificing your principles:

EdenTree Amity UK

EdenTree are pioneers of ethical investing and offer even the most discerning client a justifiable investment opportunity. Sue Round has been a the helm of the Edentree Amity UK fund for more than three decades and invests in UK small and medium-sized companies. All potential investments must pass a rigorous multi-factor screening process and from those that do, Sue looks for stocks that are currently undervalued and out-of-favour, but with the potential to increase in value.

Rathbone Ethical Bond

This fixed income fund invests in quality investment grade bonds. It has a high income target and its manager, Bryn Jones, excludes a number of companies from the portfolio that are deemed to be unethical: those involved in mining, arms, gambling, pornography, animal testing, nuclear power, alcohol or tobacco. All portfolio holdings must also have at least one positive environmental, social or corporate governance quality.

Standard Life Investments UK Ethical

Manager Lesley Duncan uses a ‘no compromises’ ethical screening to construct a portfolio of best ideas. She is adamant that you can invest without compromising on your values and beliefs – and without compromising on your returns. The fund typically holds between 50–100 holdings, and Lesley will aim to keep them for three to five years, expecting them to grow in value, and also provide some income.

*Source: UK government website and The Guardian, April 2018

**Source: Investment Association, June 2018

Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. You may not get back the amount originally invested, and tax rules can change over time. The views of the author and any people interviewed are their own and do not constitute financial advice. However the knowledge that professional analysts have analysed a fund or trust in depth before assigning them a rating can be a valuable additional filter for anyone looking to make their own decisions.