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Ethex triples finance for businesses creating positive impact in past year



Online marketplace raises £18 million for projects, including renewable energy, organic farms and social property. Ethex has tripled finance for businesses creating social and environmental change in a year, thanks to growing demand for investments that make a positive impact and pay a financial return.

The award-winning positive investment platform has raised more than £12 million for values-driven enterprises in the last 12 months, taking the overall total from £6 million to £18.1 million

Lisa Ashford, Chief Executive of Ethex, said: “We are seeing an explosion of interest from people who want to invest their money where it will earn a return and make an impact. Ethex is helping to finance a more sustainable world by providing a marketplace for businesses creating positive change and connecting them with like-minded investors.”

Since its launch in January 2013 Ethex has raised finance over 40 positive businesses and has listed over 60 different investments including community-owned renewable energy projects, organic farms, micro-finance schemes, social property, fair trade and much more. Current offers include:

Stockwood Community Benefit Society has launched a £700,000 share offer giving investors the chance to become co-owners of the farm that inspired BBC Radio 4’s The Archers and earn 5% interest. The funds will allow it to add 35-acres to its biodynamic farmland near Redditch, Worcestershire, and install renewable energy at its business park.

Mapledurham Community Energy has launched a share offer paying a 7% return to build a £2.1 million community-owned anaerobic digestion plant on the Mapledurham estate, Oxfordshire, which will generate clean energy and heat from cattle slurry and maize silage.

Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust is seeking £500,000 to upgrade the North Somerset Grade 1 listed pier and build a visitor centre with the goal of attracting 90,000 visitors a year. Shares pay 2% interest.

Harborough Energy is raising £183,600 to install solar panels on a school and health centre in Leicestershire. Shares pay 5% interest and surplus funds will tackle fuel poverty.

Thera Trust is launching a charity bond on the 19th October to raise £2 million, which will principally fund the acquisition and adaptation of freehold properties to provide much needed homes for people with a learning disability and complex needs. Return 5.5% gross per year.

Ethex was founded after social entrepreneur Jamie Hartzell realised that many investors wanted their money to make a positive impact but there was nowhere for them to easily find and compare investments that support sustainable economic development, enhance quality of life and safeguard the environment.

The not-for-profit aims to develop a mass market in positive investing and saving by making it accessible and easy to do. Ethex is an online marketplace, which offers a range of positive saving and investment opportunities, and allows people to compare their social, environmental and financial targets.

Ethex requires all businesses it lists to report against a common set of social and environmental performance indicators including social impact (local employment, procurement policies, community investment), environmental impact (waste and recycling, carbon emissions) and governance (diversity of board and staff, salary ratios).

It provides a secondary market so that investors can sell their shares and a portfolio tool allowing them to track and manage their investments

Ethex has also developed a service to support independent financial advisors and encouraging them to offer positive investments to their clients. This has unlocked almost £2 million into unlisted positive investments.

It won Investment Deal of the Year at the 2014 Social Enterprise Awards, the Finance Award at the 2014 PEA Awards, the Sustainable Finance Award at the 2015 Sustainable City Awards and, most recently, the Community Energy Funding Award in the 2015 Community Energy Awards.

Lisa Ashford, Chief Executive, Ethex, has a background in energy and environmental finance. She has worked in financial services in energy markets at OM London Exchange and Amsterdam Power Exchange before joining Ecosecurities as Global Head of Voluntary Markets to finance environmental projects in developing countries. She is also Chair of Goring and Streatley Community Energy, where she is working to get a community hydro scheme off the ground.

Jamie Hartzell, Founder and Chair of Ethex, set up the Ethical Property Company in 1988. He is active in the Fairtrade sector as Chair of both Divine Chocolate and Zaytoun, which imports olive oil and other products from Palestine.