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Economy

Exclusive interview: John Fleetwood, Founder of 3D Investing

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John Fleetwood entered the financial industry just as the financial world was rocked by ‘Black Wednesday’ in 1987. In 1991 he started to advise people on ethically screened investments, something that he did for the next 13 years. Having left financial advice he use his experience to provide research on ethical, environmental and social issues to financial institutions engaged in promoting socially responsible investments and is the founder of 3dinvesting.com. Today he talks to Blue & Green.

In 140 characters or less – what is 3D investing?

3D Investing is a practical way of investing so as to maximise social impact, minimise ethical compromise and deliver on financial expectations.

What was the driver for creating 3D investing – what gap did it fill?

SRI funds are largely driven by criteria, but this can be misleading as this just because a fund states an aim to invest in X, Y or Z, doesn’t mean that it actually invests much of its money in those areas. 3D Investing focuses on the content of the fund to identify those funds that actually make a difference. Furthermore, we analyse and compare funds on their content so that we can identify those funds that actually deliver social impact, that minimise the ethical compromises and that have delivered on their financial goals.

There are several tools that compare SRI funds but few really say which are the best, and even if they do, its based on their processes rather than what they actually invest in. 3D Investing aims to address this gap – to identify investments that really are different to the conventional market.

Who is it primarily for?

It’s for socially motivated investors that want to use their money positively whilst also meeting their financial needs. However, our prime objective is to make it easy for advisers and asset managers to offer 3D portfolios for their investors.

What difference does 3D investing want it to make?

We want to direct more money into investments that actually make a difference.

What are the barriers to making that difference?

There’s a lot of vested interests in keeping things just as they are. Much SRI has been driven by large institutions that want products that look very similar to the rest of the market and a culture has been built of comparing funds by criteria rather than looking at content. Also many advisers and managers still think SRI is just negative screening and take a very simplistic view of avoiding a few things and carrying on with business as usual. It will take time to challenge these entrenched views.

Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

Blue & Green Tomorrow! It’s great to have a media partner that is helping us to get the message out there. Also, people like Ethex, the Social Stock Exchange and pioneer fund groups like Triodos and Wheb that share our vision of moving money toward investments that actually make a positive difference.

Are trends in investment behaviour today commensurate with the social and environmental challenges we face?

Where do I start? I haven’t noticed much of a change since the financial crisis broke. Short-termism is still rife so most investments are trades rather than true investments. There’s no linking of financial remuneration to social or environmental performance so business goes on as usual. Clearly, climate change is a huge issue that requires an equally profound change in investment strategy.

The divestment movement has made an impact and there are opportunities to invest in solutions, but the pace of change is still slow. The culture is very much one of catering to a small minority of people that are interested in more than fianncial return. I look forward to the day when this reversed and the minority are the diehards that reject any form of social conscience when investing.

How can people – individuals and organisations – find our more about 3D investing?

Go on to the web site – www.3dinvesting.com – or send me an email – info[at]3dinvesting.com.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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