Monday 24th October 2016                 Change text size:

Why I chose ethical investment: helping the drive to a sustainable economy

Photo: Westmill Solar Co-operative

David Mason is an ethical investor. His primary motivation is to help grow businesses that are tackling some of the key sustainability challenges – an attitude present in both his personal and professional life.

A communications consultant specialising in sustainability, he enjoys helping sustainable businesses get publicity for their actions, and has worked with such companies as Blue Energy – the firm that installed solar panels at Westmill and also has plans to build Africa’s largest solar farm.

He has worked as a reporter and editor for a number of national and international media outlets, and Blue & Green Tomorrow recently caught up with him to find out more about his ethical investment journey.

Why have you chosen to consider ethical investment?

Investment provides the funds for businesses to grow and I want my money to help organisations which are working to build a sustainable economy. I believe these businesses are also likely to do better in the long-term.

Today we are consuming resources far faster than the Earth can regenerate them, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I believe new products, services and ways of doing business can create an efficient, low-carbon economy.

I’d prefer to see my investments as a positive choice to invest in businesses and sectors which are changing the world for the better

Responsible businesses should be thinking about global problems like climate change, how to provide food, water and power to a growing global population, and how to create a circular economy which minimises waste. I believe businesses that take these issues seriously are well placed to develop products and services meeting emerging needs, gain competitive advantage and win public support.

Did you invest in conventional funds beforehand?

Yes, at first my main concern was seeing my investments grow. However, the turning point came when I realised just how much climate change will affect our world.

I wanted to support businesses that were tackling the big challenges we face in a sustainable way, and I also became convinced that there were good investment opportunities to be had.

Are there any sectors that you specifically look to invest in?

My financial advisors are Holden & Partners, who are specialists in green and ethical investments. I trust them to make me aware of good opportunities in this space.

I think renewable energy is attractive. It offers the UK greater energy security and costs are coming down while fossil fuel prices continue to rise. I’m interested in start-ups coming up with exciting ways of tackling sustainability problems, although as with any venture capital investments these involve a high degree of risk.

I think it’s also important to support the big established businesses which are leading the way on sustainability like Unilever, Kingfisher, Vodafone and big supermarkets like Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. They can’t become sustainable overnight but they are re-examining the way they do business, driving change through their supply chain and helping millions of customers to lead greener lives.

Are there any sectors that you would refuse to invest in?

I’d prefer to see my investments as a positive choice to invest in businesses and sectors which are changing the world for the better.

What would you say to encourage or inspire other individuals to invest ethically, sustainably or responsibly?

What world do you want for your children and grandchildren? What investment decisions can you make now that they will feel proud of in 30 years’ time?

Blue & Green Tomorrow has interviewed a number of specialist ethical financial advisers in the past, and they’re located all across the country. Have a look here to find the one nearest to you.

Further reading:

Why I chose ethical investment: using money to create change

Why I chose ethical investment: becoming part of a global movement

Why I chose ethical investment: helping fund innovative companies

Why I chose ethical investment: investing responsibly in my children’s future

Why we chose ethical investment: making money do active good

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