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Ethical investment has taken off despite a ‘great deal of misunderstanding’

John Ditchfield, a managing partner of Barchester Green, spoke to Charlotte Reid about how even though ethical investment is still a growing business Ditchfield says the sector will become a mainstream opportunity.

Barchester Green was founded in 1985, celebrating its 25th birthday last year and making it the UK’s longest established ethical IFA.

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John Ditchfield, a managing partner of Barchester Green, spoke to Charlotte Reid about how even though ethical investment is still a growing business Ditchfield says the sector will become a mainstream opportunity.

Barchester Green was founded in 1985, celebrating its 25th birthday last year and making it the UK’s longest established ethical IFA.

It offers a different approach from other financial advisers because it is a partnership. This means it is owned and run by the advisers and the staff. It became a partnership when the founder, Geoff Griffiths, retired in 2008. A way needed to be found to allow Griffiths to leave whilst ensuring the company remained in the hands of the people most closely associated with it.

John Ditchfield, a financial adviser and managing partner of Barchester Green, says that being a partnership is good because people “tend to stay with the firm and want to work with our clients over a long period of time”. He says because the advisers are actually the owners of the business it creates a “better continuity of adviser relationship with consumers”.

The company began its life in Salisbury. Twenty six years later they still have their Salisbury office and other offices spread throughout the south east, in London, Exeter, Bristol, Brighton and Devon.

Barchester Green believes that when giving financial advice, they must ensure they will produce the best benefits for their clients. The company works on a commission or fee basis, depending on what is best for the client.

Ethical investment has taken off

It is a common assumption that ethical investments will underperform in comparison to normal investments and that compromises need to be made to make a return. This is something that Ditchfield disagrees with, pointing out that there is no clear evidence that just because a fund is ethically screened it would not perform as well.

Ditchfield suggests that people should be paying attention to Kames Ethical Equity as it is a fund that “ticks a lot of boxes” when it comes to ethical investment. He also mentions that the fund managers at Kames, as well as at other ethical funds such as Aberdeen and Ecclesiastical, have been in place for longer than the average fund manager tenure so they know their clients well.

When Barchester Green began, the ethical investment sector was very small, but in the time since it has increased, and it is now worth £11 billion. Ditchfield says that the growth is “not enormous but it has taken off a reasonable amount”.

Like Jeremy Newbegin, of Ethical Partnership, and Julian Parrott, of Ethical Futures, before him, Ditchfield says there is “still a great deal of misunderstanding” when it comes to ethical investment in the UK. He says there is problems with information about ethical funds getting out there and says “the banks are quite obstructive”.

Barchester Green wants to “encourage joined up thinking” when it comes to people looking at their financial options and considering their ethical values. Ditchfield says that if people do not think about where they are putting their money then “they wouldn’t be investing ethically and potentially they are at odds with their own values”.

Interesting group to work with

Ditchfield, who joined the company in 2003, has had an interesting career. He started working for Oxfam after leaving university before becoming a project manager helping to create micro-credit schemes in Leeds, Birmingham and London.

In 2000, he trained as an independent financial adviser with Ethical Money before moving onto working for a tax planning and investment company, until he joined Barchester Green.

He says that he thinks that people who work in the ethical financial worlds are a “more interesting group to work with”.

Shunning the idea of fame, Ditchfield says that if he was stuck on a desert island he would want Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein to be his company. Ditchfield, who studied politics and philosophy at university, said Wittgenstein would “give me an opportunity to return to my academic studies”.

He is sure that ethical investment will not remain a niche area because of the impact it has on all sorts of aspects that are central to the world economy. He says in 10 years time, “ethical investment will become mainstream” to help deal with the issues of a growing population and the scarcity of resources.

If you would like to know more about ethical investment then contact Barchester Green or complete our form and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.

Previous interviewees include:

Features

What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?

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shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Features

Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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