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Exclusive Interview: Daniel Godfrey, The People’s Trust



Daniel Godfrey

Daniel Godfrey has worked in investment management for over thirty years.

He has a marketing and communications background at firms like Schroders, Mercury Asset Management (now BlackRock) and Flemings (now JP Morgan). He was the Founding Chairman of the Personal Finance Education Group, a charity that worked to put financial capability on the schools curriculum and to train teachers to deliver lesson plans in the classroom.  In his last role, as Chief Executive of the Investment Association, the trade body for the UK’s £6 trillion investment industry, he introduced greater transparency and a Statement of Principles that would require signatories to confirm that “they always put the interest of clients first and ahead of their own.

In 140 characters (a tweet) or less – what is The People’s Trust?

A long-term investment fund that aims to deliver better returns to you, have a better impact on society and be accessible to everyone.

What was the driver for creating The People’s Trust specifically – what gap does it fill?

The realisation that systemic pressure in the investment industry makes it impossible to reform the system from within. And reform is desperately needed – because people need better returns on their money and because short term-incentives and drivers produce lower GDP growth and climate outcomes that damage us all. The People’s Trust fills a gap for a new type of mutual where customers own the fund and have a say in how its run. It also fills a gap for a true long-term investment fund for ordinary people that enables responsible stewardship to take place.

Who is it primarily for?

Everyone! It will be accessible to anyone who can save from £10 pounds a week, but it make sense as an investment for the ultra-wealthy too.

What difference does The People’s Trust want to make?

First, to provide the benefits of long-term investment to a much larger part of society –  the tens of millions that live in an affluent society, yet who do not feel affluent. Secondly, through being long-term shareholders of companies, to encourage, support, cajole and if necessary require them to behave responsibly and with a long-term focus themselves. This means caring about human capital development, environmental footprint, innovation, R&D, new products, new markets, fair tax policies, fair lobbying, diversity and pay inequality.

What are the barriers to making that difference?

Will we get enough support in the initial crowdsourcing to justify the work and expense of a full launch? Will enough people reach for their seat belts when the going gets bumpy or their parachutes (hint, the right answer is “seatbelt”)?

Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

1,350 Founders! Freshfields our lawyers. Willis Towers Watson, our intended investment advisers and Wardour Communication who’ve built our website. Everyone’s working for love of the idea at the moment.

Is the investment sector doing enough to deliver sustainable long-term returns and a better future for employees, the environment and the economy?

No. And until it re-sets its own time horizons to more than five years minimum before you measure success or failure – it never will.

How can people find out more about The People’s Trust? and on Twitter @pplstrust

How would you describe your approach to environmental issues?

We think that disinvestment has its place in raising the profile of issues. But if all the investors that care about the environment abandon the field to investors who don’t care, then companies will be under no pressure to change. If we were to invest in any fossil fuel producers or companies that have significant greenhouse gas outputs, we would be working with like-minded shareholders to persuade or require the Board to produce a strategy for a >2C temperature rise – on which the Board and management can then be held accountable.



Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy



Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands



Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

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