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Book review: Invest, Feel Good, Make a Difference – Richard Essex (2014)



Invest, Feel Good, Make a Difference: Breaking the Myths about Sustainable and Responsible Investing is the ideal book for investors interested in making their portfolios more sustainable and responsible but have reservations, are facing challenges or are unsure of how to start.

Surrey-based financial adviser Richard Essex argues that whilst there are factors that prevent investors from making a commitment to invest responsibly, now is the “turning point”. He adds that he believes that in the near future, socially responsible investment (SRI) will no longer be the domain of specialist advisers but accepted as a mainstream activity.

Essex identifies eight myths around SRI, including that investing in this way can’t make you a healthy return, that the market is not mature enough and that a SRI strategy doesn’t allow you to spread investment risk. He then dispels these myths in clear and easy to understand terms.

Each chapter focuses on a specific myth that details research and evidence as to why it is unfounded. The text itself is jargon-free and broken down into manageable chunks making it an informative yet accessible read, even for those new to the subject.

Essex had previously spoken to Blue & Green Tomorrow about sustainable investment and why it’s important. Looking to the future of the industry, he commented, “I believe there will be a steady growth of people within the financial services industry who start to see the light. I also think more retail funds will take on the idea of [environmental, social and governance] sustainability as being important.

“Having said that, there is still a huge amount of head-in-sand and ultimately it might need further shocks to the system before there is a more critical mass of acceptance.”

Invest, Feel Good, Make a Difference is an ideal place to start when considering SRI strategies and where the financial markets are heading.