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Sustainable September debate: investment is about maximising return – arguments for

Sustainable September

The fourth and final debate at Sustainable SeptemberBlue & Green Tomorrow’s month-long celebration of sustainability – is about investment. Tickets for all events, including the all-day sustainability conference, will be available in June, but readers can reserve their place early here.

Over the last week or so, we have explored the motions being discussed at the first three evening debates: on tourism (arguments for/against), retail (arguments for/against) and energy (arguments for/against). The fourth is on investment, with four soon-to-be-confirmed speakers discussing the motion, “The purpose of investment is maximising return, nothing else.” Read the arguments against the motion here.

The above view is commonplace in investment and finance. Blue & Green Tomorrow publisher Simon Leadbetter took on the role of a profit-orientated investor in an article earlier this year. In it, he concluded, “If you want to do ‘good’, join a charity or party or vote for a party that promises the reform you want. Convince us to vote for a change in the law on what is legal and what is not. In the meantime, investment profit maximisation within the law is ‘good’.”

While that is clearly not a true reflection of his views, there are people who hold it in entirety, or even more extreme versions.

Many industry professionals are of the opinion that there are no moral or ethical considerations when investing. Speaking to City AM last year, Hargreaves Lansdown’s head of research Mark Dampier said, “The problem with ethical funds is you’re asking a fund manager to run a fund with one hand behind his back.”

The fourth Sustainable September debate, which you can register your interest for here, will explore this subject in-depth. But in the meantime, why not tell us what you think on social media? Follow Sustainable September on Twitter (@SustSept), Facebook ( and through the dedicated LinkedIn group.

On Friday, we will explore some of the arguments against the motion.

Read the arguments against the motion.

Further reading:

Introducing: Sustainable September

What is Sustainable September?

Register now for Sustainable September 2014

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