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.
How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018
Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.
Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:
1. Energy – produce it, save it
If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.
It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.
While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.
Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!
2. Don’t be just another tourist
Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.
3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly
We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.
To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.
It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.
4. Know thy recycling
People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.
People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.
5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool
Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.
All in all
The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.
Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
In a world, where war rages and global warming threatens our very existence, the inhabitants of earth need to be extra vigilant in their efforts to go green. This includes reducing your carbon footprint on the earth and leading a more sustainable life.
Many homeowners feel perplexed by all of the options available to reduce their carbon footprint. They may even feel (falsely) that making their household more green will fail to make that much of a difference in the fight to save our planet.
Even a single home going green has a massive impact on the environment. We can win this battle on home at a time. If you’re interested in accepting the challenge of making your household a green home, read on below for a few of the top changes you can make in your life to reduce your carbon footprint. We all stand to benefit from making the earth safer for future generations – and your wallet won’t complain when you start to see the savings in annual energy costs.
Switch From Dirty Energy to Clean Solar
The ION Solar reviews tell it all–solar is the best way to go. Whether your goal is to slash your energy bills, or to reduce your carbon footprint, the sun is a fantastic source of renewable energy.
It’s important to get past the hype from solar installers. Instead, listen to the plethora of impartial customer reviews that mention everything from a $20 energy bill, to the incredible feeling of knowing that you are doing your part by going green and minimizing harmful emissions in to our atmosphere.
The average investment is $15,000 to $30,000 for installation and purchase of solar panels. Optional battery power packs can help provide consistent power during both night and day. And many government agencies provide federal, state or local grants to help offset upfront investments in clean energy.
Depending on which installed you choose, your household may qualify for low-interest or zero interest loans to cover the up-front cost of your installation. And the loan payments are usually less than your current monthly power bill.
It really is a win-win, as home buyers are looking for homes that feature this technology – meaning solar power installation improves the resale value of your property.
And there are a number of additional home modifications that can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. A programmable thermostat can better manage energy consumption from home cooling and heating systems while you’re away from home. And weather stripping your doors can help keep cool air in during the summer, and warm air in during the winter.
Of course, energy conservation starts at home. And this includes setting a powerful example for your kids. Teach your children how to close windows, strategically keep doors open or closed based on airflow, and encourage them to leave the thermostat alone – opting for adding or removing layers of clothing instead.
Unplug Appliances and Shut Off Electronics
Unplugging your appliances when they aren’t in use, such as the toaster and the coffee maker, has more of an impact than you might think. Set your TVs and stereos on sleep timers, instead of letting them run around the clock. The cumulative impact of wasteful electronic device usage is horrible for our environment – putting unnecessary strain on our electrical grid.
One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by recycling. You are already throwing this stuff away anyway, right? It doesn’t take much more effort to just put recyclables in a separate container to be recycled, now does it?
Oh, and did I mention that you can earn money for recycling? Yes! Many cities and towns have recycling centers that will purchase your clean plastic and glass bottles for reuse.
Minimize Your Water Usage
Water is one of the easiest things to forget about when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Preserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Shorten your shower by a few minutes and turn down the heat on that water heater. You’ll be surprised at how much lower your water bill and your energy bill will be.
Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love?
These are just a few of the top ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and start living a greener lifestyle. And we aren’t factoring in all of the advantages that we’ll reap from public investments in a smarter energy grid.
From decreasing your water usage, to switching to solar for your home’s energy needs, you will feel good at the end of the day knowing you are doing your part to save the future of this planet for generations to come!
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