A Business Consultant from Coventry
"It’s all about hopefully making a good return on your money. And there are various ways of doing that, in terms of low risk investments through to high risk investments. The higher the risk, the potentially greater return you might get, but equally it could be a lot lower as well. It’s a much broader band. Depending upon when you want to access that money will probably have an influence on the risk approach you would take.
"For us, all our investments are done jointly – all the decisions we make are joint ones. And now, because of what’s hopefully good financial planning, Phil has just fallen into retirement. So now he’s playing lots of golf and actually cleaning the kitchen floor. It’s lovely!"
"To be honest our concern has more been to actually make a return on our money. It’s only recently we’ve started to think about sustainable investments, and when we did we had a conversation with Tilney, and they explained that historically the returns have not been as good. So yeah, they did turn us off a little bit. They said if you’ve got 110 top funds usually, then you’d only have 20 ethical top picks, so it’s a smaller world you can choose from.
"We have asked them to put a small percentage of our investments into sustainable though – we have dipped our toes in recently but it’s too recent to know how it’s doing. We’re probably in the camp that wants the best of both worlds. I don’t think we’d really want to sacrifice returns for morals."
"Well actually… I was attracted to two products I’d seen over the last few years. One invested in solar panels, and the other in wind farms. I took a view that the return was probably not as attractive but there were tax benefits and it was something that appealed to me anyway. So there is an example where I think we did get the best of both worlds. It wasn’t a stellar return but I had the tax windfall and the rewarding feeling."
"In my early 50s and gearing up to retire, I know I need to do other things with the other half of my life. So I’ve been thinking about the Forestry Commission and making sure our landscapes are maintained. Or that people are well fed and cared for around the country. Maybe some opportunities in developing countries.
"We have quite a lot of our investments in developing countries, but do I get the impression that they are improving those countries for the people who live there? No. It’s just capitalism. I’m quite anxious to find good investments, like providing water to villages, where there’s a way of getting a decent return. Then everybody feels great about it."
If, like Ceri and Phil, you want to have a positive impact in both developed and emerging worlds, without sacrificing returns, the following option is worth reading up on. Or have a look at a bigger range with The Share Centre's 'Healthcare & Wellbeing' list or Morningstar's 'Low Carbon' list on our Sustainable Savers home page.
(We asked some of the leading names in sustainable investing to recommend a fund or two they like for our Sustainable Savers. This isn’t a personal recommendation and we’re not giving financial advice. Food for thought only, folks.)
Hannah Rosley, UK Wholesale Manager at Hermes, suggests...
"The Fund aims to deliver strong investment returns through successful SDG-focused engagements with SMID (small- and mid-sized) companies globally. Such activities also enable positive change and encourage more sustainable business practices in the developed and emerging worlds.
"In managing the Fund, we target constructive and positive dialogues with each company’s board and management team, encouraging them to mitigate any existing negative impacts and to adopt practices, initiatives and strategies that deliver tangible and positive outcomes for all stakeholders: society and the planet, the companies themselves, their employees and the local communities in which they operate, and investors."
Here's an example of one of the companies you'd be investing in if you bought the Hermes SDG Engagement Equity Fund:
"National Instruments Corp develops automated test and measurement systems across a diverse range of industries. Fewer women than men undertake advanced STEM (science, technology, engineering and manufacturing) education and there is a clear opportunity for “STEM” companies to help expand the pipeline of female talent in these industries and then retain and develop the skills of women already working in them.
"A major focus of our engagement has been the business’s work to increase gender diversity from its board to its trainee pipeline. This includes improving sustainability reporting by disclosing more ESG information, particularly regarding quantitative targets and progress towards achieving them."
You might also find a fund that's suitable for you in these lists of popular investments:
9 award-winning sustainable investment funds, as commended by Investment Week's Sustainable & ESG Investment Awards 2019
14 best buy sustainable investment funds recommended by provider best buy and favourites lists
Sustainable Savers home
How are other investors having a positive impact?
Guide to ESG & Sustainable investing• Quick start guide
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