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Ethical investment provides a higher quality of life

Chris Wright, manager of the Premier Ethical Fund, believes that, at the crux of it all, humans want to behave ethically. In a recent interview, he told Alex Blackburne how his fund allows individuals to satisfy that need whilst also achieving a competitive return.

The ethical investment sector is peppered with misconceptions that deter individuals from allowing their money to work for a good cause.

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Chris Wright, manager of the Premier Ethical Fund, believes that, at the crux of it all, humans want to behave ethically. In a recent interview, he told Alex Blackburne how his fund allows individuals to satisfy that need whilst also achieving a competitive return.

The ethical investment sector is peppered with misconceptions that deter individuals from allowing their money to work for a good cause.

Most misconceptions surround performance, with many cynics claiming that a good return is sacrificed for an ethical standpoint. As Blue & Green Tomorrow has proven on many occasions whilst profiling ethical funds, this is most certainly not the case. Indeed, the mantra of this week’s fund is “to achieve capital growth”.

The Premier Ethical Fund, an Open Ended Investment Company (OEIC) managed by Chris Wright, marries competitive returns with positive morals.

Its aim is to provide an investment vehicle for individuals who want their money invested and want to make a reasonable return, whilst also excluding the traditional bad areas, such as alcohol, tobacco and pornography”, says Wright, a manager with 24 years of experience in investment.

We exclude companies that are consistently involved in breaching international laws of behaviour with regards to pollution and environmental damage, companies that have a poor record of labour relations, and companies that engage in child labour.

We also try and avoid companies that target children with inappropriate advertising or sexualise children within their advertising.”

Once the initial stage of negative screening is out the way, Premier look at a company’s positive aspects to determine whether there is an appropriate investment opportunity that fits the remit.

We try to accentuate or encourage the positives”, explains Wright.

The fund will look to invest in companies that provide products and services that aid environmental sustainability … That includes companies that are involved in pollution control, monitoring industrial efficiencies, energy preservation, production of energy saving devices, process control equipment, and also companies that are involved in sustainable transport that might have an active interest in low-carbon energy production and renewables.

We also look at companies whose products put an emphasis on improving individuals’ basic standard of living, rather than focusing on luxuries, as well as companies that supply educational training services and companies that are involved in the preservation of water supply.”

Underlying this is the Premier Ethical Fund’s ultimate objective – to invest in growing companies and sectors. And because of its inherently long term nature, the renewables industry, and all of its sustainability-driven offshoots, appears high up on its list of potential investment opportunities.

We’re looking for some element of value in the company, but also some element of momentum”, says Wright.

I don’t want it to be a value trap, where it’s cheap but only because the business is not getting better.”

But clearly, as B&GT have detailed, there are a number of funds available for individuals with long term morals. So what makes the Premier Ethical Fund stand out?

One reason is that it has a large-cap and more general bias”, Wright says.

Secondly, it has strict negative criteria and encouraging positive criteria.

And thirdly, and why people will invest, is performance. They need the fund to do well rather than badly.”

Given the recent and indeed current volatility of the stock market, the fund has performed admirably on the third point beating the FTSE4 Good UK Index on a number of time periods.

A more detailed breakdown on the fund’s performance can be found on its fact sheet.

Taking into account the fund’s criteria, one particularly interesting company that the Premier Ethical Fund invests in is DS Smith, an international supplier of recycled packaging and the leading collector of waste paper for recycling in the UK, handling 1.7 million tonnes every year.

The business runs a continuous three-stage cycle, which begins with DS Smith Recycling collecting waste paper. The waste paper goes into the organisation’s own mill, called DS Smith Paper, where new corrugated cases are produced. DS Smith Packaging passes the cases onto businesses such as supermarkets. Once used, the cases are ready to be disposed of, and the cycle starts again.

I think it’s a rather elegant way of conducting a business”, Wright points out, “and it does it very, very well.”

Although it offers a dedicated ethical fund, Premier isn’t solely an ethical fund provider. So how seriously does the company take ethical investment? Very seriously, according to Wright.

You may notice in the press that others are moving away from ethical investment [Aviva and Henderson have both scrapped their SRI teams in the last few months]”, he said.

We are definitely not; we’re always looking for opportunities to expand, and there may be opportunities in the future given what’s happening.”

The ratio of ethical to so-called unethical funds very much leans towards unsustainable industries, and it certainly doesn’t help the sector when big players such as Henderson and Aviva publicly take away emphasis.

Wright, though, was positive about the future of sustainable, responsible, and ethical investment, and concludes by stating why he believes individuals should very seriously consider it:

As human beings, we are all moral animals”, he explains.

If we produce and use our influence and all our investments to help guide, push and cajole companies into behaving better, people will have a higher quality of life.”

A high quality lifestyle is achievable for everyone, and it only takes a few small steps to realise it. To get in touch specifically with Premier about their ethical fund, visit their website. Otherwise, talk with your own IFA or fill in our online form and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.

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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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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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