Jeremy Newbegin, director of The Ethical Partnership, spoke to Charlotte Reid about his hope that people will start to see the reasons for ethical finance.
When trying to understand the world of ethical finance, it is good to have someone who made the journey from sceptic to full-time enthusiast to guide you through it.
Jeremy Newbegin, director of The Ethical Partnership, took a long time to be convinced of the benefits of ethical investing, even though he used to work for a company that was doing some work towards ethical finances when it was a very small sector in the 1980s.
Like many ethical investors he is motivated in no small part by his faith and in our discussion said of all the people he would genuinely like to be stuck on a desert island with would be Jesus. Newbegin sees the decision to be involved in ethical financial advice as “very simple” saying, “I am a committed Christian and it just fitted my beliefs and my lifestyle”.
On the edge of the New Forest
The Ethical Partnership, which has one of its offices near Lyndhurst, Hampshire, is an independent financial planner, focusing on ethical and socially responsible investment.
There are four directors who all worked together previously before setting up this company. They boast that between them they can offer a combined 50 years experience in ethical investment, as well as over a hundred years in financial services.
Newbegin makes clear that they offer more general advice as well, because they “don’t turn people away”. He explains this approach by saying that as clients “get to know me they will get more of an understanding” of ethical investments, because of the work of The Ethical Partnership”.
He points out that ethical funds can be complicated which is why they offer bespoke, tailored portfolios as well more general portfolios.
“We are all different, we all have different morals, and beliefs”.
“Bespoke portfolios are for people who want to make every effort to match their beliefs and lifestyle. They are very strict on criteria and this can potentially affect the performance.”
He believes that what is stopping ethical investment from taking off in the UK is “the belief that performance is not good ”. He does admit that there are potentially, compromises to be made when achieving a return on ethical investment and doing the right thing “because you aren’t prepared to cut corners for profits sake”.
Newbegin added, “However, that doesn’t mean you won’t get a decent return. In fact looking forward I am excited about the prospects for specialist sectors like renewable energy, waste management, water management, and health”.
Another factor that puts people off from looking at ethical alternatives is that “people have busy lives and suffer from apathy because they can’t be bothered or haven’t the time to move [their money]”.
However, Newbegin is hopeful that attitudes will change thanks to the lack of integrity amongst some politicians, journalists, and of course the credit crunch and the subsequent behaviour of the banks.
“It is time we wake up and realise that we are all in this together. We only have one planet. We also need each other to help make a sustainable living for all. We need to treat each other with respect and honesty, and look after those less fortunate than ourselves.
“If we keep going down the same route we will only make things worse”. It’s time for change.
You reap what you sow
The director sums it up with the phrase ‘you reap what you sow’ .
Newbegin has a stark warning for the future, which is that if attitudes towards money do not change then “in the end it may well bring about an economic disaster – if we are not already too late”.
“Integrity needs to be the foundation of all we do. If that had been the case we wouldn’t be in the situation we are now in.”
However, he does appreciate that people have a lack of knowledge about ethical investments and he sees that as “the industry’s fault”. We need to educate people.
When people are asking about investments in general, Newbegin says rarely are the ethical options discussed, and if they are then they are spoken about negatively.
If you believe in something you will have a passion about that subject
This is why it is better to get advice from an organisation like The Ethical Partnership, as Newbegin says, “If you believe in something you will have a passion about that subject, and are more likely to have better knowledge.”
Bad advice is something of a worry for Newbegin as he says, “there are a lot of wolves out there dressed in sheep’s clothing” who are potentially giving out ethical financial advice with very limited knowledge. If people take their advice they could be put off by a bad experience.
Newbegin is hopeful that with the current economic and social environment people will be inclined to change their behaviour and opinions,
“All that has happened recently with bankers, politicians, journalists, police etc, I hope that, but maybe I am being naïve, people are unhappy with the lack of integrity and that ethical investment will strike a chord.”
About where he’s based
Newbegin’s office is situated in a village called Woodlands, near the beautiful New Forest National Park.
The surrounding area includes places such as Ashurst, Southampton and the popular tourist destination Lymington.
The Georgian market town of Lymington, Hampshire, is world renowned as a sailing resort. The southern port comes complete with a cobbled high street and just to the north is the New Forest National Park.
All of this surrounding beautiful scenery led to Channel 5 giving Lymington the title of ‘best town on the coast’ in 2008.
Throughout the town’s history it has had a number of uses for its close proximity to the sea. In the 18th century, Lymington gained a reputation for smuggling, as smugglers would use the ports to bring their secret stashes to land.
But then it gave way to respectability in the 19th century, as Lymington became well-known for shipbuilding and trade, which in turn gave way to yacht making. The town’s sailing history, as well as its strong tides, making for some challenging race tracks, meant Lymington became the home to some world famous regattas.
In 2009 the local authority New Forest District Council (NFDC) created 2,283kt of carbon dioxide, which is a slow dip as that figure was 2,630 in 2005. The biggest contribution is large industrial installations.
The NDFC is helping residents to become environmentally aware by creating more opportunities for energy efficient and renewable energy products.
The local authority is also a member of the Southern Home Energy Conservation Action Network (SHECANe), a group of 14 local authorities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Since 1997 they have been working together to fulfil the requirements of the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995.
Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy
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.
How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands
Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.
Small waste adds up over time
A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:
- Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
- Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
- Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
- Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.
Going electronic has significant benefits
If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.
Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:
- Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
- Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
- Using financial software to manage your books
- Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
- Arranging digital feedback and review forms
- Making the most of Google Docs
Going green can help you to make money too
Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.
Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.