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Combining financial security with your ethical beliefs is ‘not a pipedream’

Alex Blackburne spoke to Ash Rawal, managing director of Lighthouse Impact Ltd, who urged people to “take control” of their finances and invest ethically, calling the benefits “spiritual and self-enhancing“.

Money talks“, states Ash Rawal, “If more people put their money where their mouth was, they would not only make themselves better off, but they would also make the world a better and a stronger place, and they would have a larger stakehold in the way we shape the world“.



Alex Blackburne spoke to Ash Rawal, managing director of Lighthouse Impact Ltd, who urged people to “take control” of their finances and invest ethically, calling the benefits “spiritual and self-enhancing“.

Money talks“, states Ash Rawal, “If more people put their money where their mouth was, they would not only make themselves better off, but they would also make the world a better and a stronger place, and they would have a larger stakehold in the way we shape the world“.

It might sound like an exaggerated statement from the managing director of wealth creation and investment management specialists, Lighthouse Impact Ltd, but it’s not – far from it, in fact.

Ethical investment makes you more in harmony with your personality“, Rawal continues.

“It puts your beliefs to work within your investment portfolio, it’s more individual, and you’re tailoring it to what you believe in, rather than being shown what to buy in the market place.

Having worked in the stockbroking industry for many years, Rawal, a self-proclaimed philanthropist, said, “I wanted to use my investment ability to help make the world a better place“, and so formed his own company, Lighthouse Impact Ltd, in 2003.

The company offers comprehensive financial advice and planning, specialising in ethical investment and making people wealthier through their positive investments.

Based in Derby and covering much of Derbyshire and the East Midlands, with clients in other areas of the UK as well, Lighthouse Impact Ltd is an independent wealth management practitioners.

“The aim is to make the clients wealthier whilst protecting their wealth and making them more financially secure, within their own beliefs – showing them that it’s not a pipedream“, says Rawal.

“Lighthouse Impact Ltd is designed to actually be practical rather than theoretical in its application of applying finance to peoples’ lives, so they can experience the benefit within their lives, rather than buying a packaged product and not knowing what to do with it.”

Advice starts by learning about a client’s situation

Although he admitted there are “now enough ethical investments to diversify a portfolio well“, in contrast to the “one or two” from 20 years ago, Rawal claimed giving financial tips without properly getting to know a client was “the wrong way to proceed“.

“Advice starts by learning about a client’s situation, their risk profile, their value system, what they believe in – all of these things are needed before you can advise people individually; rather then making ‘off-the-cuff’ recommendations to people.

“Making a judgement without knowing an individual is really where people have gone wrong in the past in the non-ethical industry, because sweeping generalisations have been made, and people have taken their advice and lost money and then blamed the advisors or the industry and that’s not a responsible thing to do.”

Lighthouse Impact Ltd offers a combination of fee and commission-based methods of payment for their services. Rawal emphasised the relationship aspect of their advice-giving.

“A client can want something for nothing and an advisor can take advantage of somebody’s ignorance to give them unsuitable advice.

“Both situations are wrong, so what we look to do is build meaningful relationships with our clients wherever possible, but it’s dual-process.”

Ignorance and lack of knowledge are stumbling blocks

He recognises ethical investment is a growing sector, though, and, like Julian Parrott and Jeremy Newbegin before him, he cites “ignorance, a lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding” as three reasons why it hasn’t completely taken off in the UK.

“There are an innumerate number of people who contribute to charities and who lead a good spiritual life, but they don’t know about the existence or potential of ethical investments“, Rawal states.

“The banks or building societies that people mainly bank with either don’t have any ethical investments, or if there are, there will be a very limited selection which will be unsuitable for the client in many cases.”

Rawal continued to emphasise the amount of information needed to correctly choose an ethical investment for a customer, stating that good advisers wouldn’t make rash, impulsive decisions.

“Constructing a well-diversified ethical portfolio, that aims to optimise longer term performance within an individual’s risk profile, involves specialised skill and expertise, which takes years to develop.

“Many advisers will either not be aware of ethical investments or not actively promote them to customers.”

Rawal added that not knowing who to go to, a lack of promotion from the mainstream investment industry, cost issues, a lack of positive action, the negative stigma attached to the sector, and the overall scepticism of the UK public in a time of extreme financial volatility, are all other factors as to why ethical investment is likely to be low on an individual’s priorities.

He reinforced the point that if you have sustainable or ethical morals, then the obvious thing to do would be to make your investments run parallel to your beliefs.

“The best way to do that is by actually having the conviction and investing your money in accordance with what you believe”, he said.

“That makes you stronger and more confident, because you are living in harmony with your soul and your personality, and you can say you are actually one of those individuals who lives by their principles instead of talking about them.”

Use your own individual thumbprint to build wealth

Although not a big fan of fame, Rawal draws inspiration and teachings from the life and career of Muhammad Ali, a boyhood idol of his, who is now renowned just as much for his social activism and philanthropy as he is for his legendary career in boxing.

Rawal met Ali briefly in 1983 and was hugely impressed by his humility, warmth and genuineness.

“He is truly a great man, and he’s achieved a great many things, but underlying all that, are the values and the principles he lived his life by, which resulted in him transcending the world of boxing to become one of the world’s most famous men.

“He stood by his beliefs and actions, and by doing so he made himself greater than any sportsman that’s ever lived. I could learn a lot from listening to his philosophy about life, the way he conducts himself, and the way he shapes his life.”

To put it simply, Ash Rawal, and others like him within the ethical investment sector, conveys a simple message:

“Do what you believe in instead of just talking about it, and it will improve your psyche, your self-confidence, your belief, and moreover, it will help to build your wealth and financial legacy using your own individual thumbprint.”

“Don’t look at the fear”, Rawal says, “look at the opportunity”.

If you would like to know more about ethical investment, contact Lighthouse Impact Ltd, or complete our form and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.

About where he’s based

Lighthouse Impact Ltd is based in Mickleover, two miles from Derby city centre.

With an estimated population of 236,000, the city lies upon the banks of the River Derwent in the ceremonial county of Derbyshire, and is a short commute away from the Peak District National Park – one of the most beautiful areas in Britain.

The 18th century painter, Joseph Wright, hailed as “the first professional painter to express the spirit of the Industrial Revolution” was born in Derby. Whilst other notable people to have strong links with the city are Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing, and the late actor Alan Bates, most famous for starring in the film, Zorba the Greek.

Its football team, Derby County, currently play in the Championship, and are managed by Nigel Clough, whose father, Brian, is arguably one of the greatest managers to have graced the English game.
Clough senior took the Rams from the doldrums of the then-Second Division, to become First Division champions in the space of just five years – a remarkable feat.

In terms of its Environmental Policy, Derby City Council’s “overall goal is to protect and enhance the environment while sustaining it for future generations. We will do this by working in partnership with others to continually improve our environmental performance.”

The Council publish a Declaration on Climate Change, as well as their environmental performance – both of which are available on its website.

In 2009, the local authority of Derby produced 1,586kt of carbon dioxide, compared to the 1,668kt it produced in 2008, meaning it beat neighbours Leicester (1,736kt) and Nottingham (1,644kt).

The city’s emissions per capita are also lower than previous years, standing at 6.5t in 2009 after a steady reduction of 0.9t since 2005, placing it nearly a tonne under the national average.

Previous interviewees include:


How Going Green Can Save A Company Money



going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable




sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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