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If you have more questions about sustainable investing visit our FAQ section at the foot of this page or download them.
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What is sustainable investment?
Sustainable investing, also known as socially responsible, green, or ethical investing, describes an investment strategy that seeks to maximise financial, social and environmental good.In general, sustainable investors favour companies that promote environmental stewardship, consumer protection, human rights, and diversity. Some (but not all) avoid businesses involved in alcohol, tobacco, gambling, weapons, and/or the military. The areas of concern recognized by the SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) industry can be summarised as environment, social justice, and corporate governance (ESG).
Many mainstream funds invest in companies involved in tobacco and alcohol manufacture, pornography and gambling, weapons production, the exploitation of children and animals, nuclear and fossil power, regular human rights abuse and environmental damage.
You can download our report on sustainable investment here.
Are there different types of this kind of sustainable investment?
You can invest in companies that are ‘doing good’ (developing clean technologies, building social enterprises, curing diseases etc.) or simply screen out those companies that are doing the most harm. You should balance the return you want with the activity of the fund or companies you’re investing in. Do not be afraid to ask questions about what companies make up a fund.
Why do you recommend paying for advice?
Investments are increasingly complex instruments. Unless you invest for a living, you risk investing in companies whose activities you disagree with and not getting the results you need. Independent financial advisers who specialise in sustainable investment are rare, about 1:10, but can help you find the right products that match your views on sustainability with the financial return you want to gain. This expertise comes from years of experience and that experience is worth paying for.Advisers should be very open about their charging structure, whether it is a flat fee, commission or a combination of both.
What questions should I ask an adviser?
It is important to prepare before you meet your adviser by being clear on what you want your money to do, how much you can invest and how much risk you are willing to bear.
- Which companies does this product/fund put its money into? Remember the building blocks of most investments are individual companies (along with bonds, cash and property). It is the activities of these companies that you should be interested in regardless of whether the product is badged as green, ethical, socially responsible or sustainable
- Does this product meet my needs?
- What are the risks?
- What are the charges and how are they paid?
- How do the charges compare to similar products?
- Is this the best deal I can get?
- If there are regular payments, what happens if I cannot keep them up?
- If I decide to invest long-term, what happens if I need my money earlier than planned? Are there any penalties for early withdrawal?
- What is the tax position?
What are the alternatives to sustainable investment?
We genuinely believe there is no alternative. Money that is invested unsustainably does more damage to human life and our planet than any other form of financial product. Therefore, there is no logic to investing unsustainably. While you may get a return on that investment, if it damages quality of life for current and future generations or damages the environment ultimately what is the point in doing it. This is especially true when considering the fact that if done sensibly sustainable investing can yield an equal financial return.
How do I find a reputable adviser?
Simply use the contact form above and your details will be sent in confidence to an independent financial adviser who specialises in this type of advice.