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Ecclesiastical report maps historic sustainable investment progress



A new report from Ecclesiastical Investment Management takes a nostalgic look at sustainable business strategies throughout its existence, and examines how approaches must evolve to match a socially responsible future.

The project, which stretches all the way from Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee year in 1887 – the year Ecclesiastical was founded as a church insurer – to the recent diamond celebration, looks back over 125 years of business ventures.

The time span reveals how the “business and societal landscape” has evolved almost beyond recognition. In spite of this, a consistent factor of sustainability has survived the odds and declared a growing support for ethical and responsible investment funds.

In the report, Ecclesiastical displays recognition about the importance of resource management: “The growing pressure on natural resources has meant that businesses are required to be increasingly nimble and also consider the impact of their operations on communities, the environment, and on the wider society.”

“Investing has come a long way”, it continues, before adding that we are met with “a new focus on addressing some of the world’s most compelling societal problems while making a financial return.”

Sustainable investment is a crucial step in ensuring the planet, its people and prosperity have a sustainable future. Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Guide to Sustainable Investment highlights the sector as a driver for change.

In 1984, visionaries created the UK’s first ethical fund – the Friends Provident Stewardship Fund, which was nicknamed the ‘Brazil Fund’, supposedly because anyone would have to be “nuts to invest in it”.

Despite a stuttering start, there are now approximately 80 dedicated ethical and responsible investment funds in the UK alone, totalling over £11 billion assets under management.

In the final stretch before the Rio+20 Earth Summit commences, businesses globally are considering the greatest contributions they can make to society and the environment.

Neville White, senior socially responsible investment analyst at EIM, said, “The best companies – those that have learned to evolve and adapt over 125 years – are already making that leap.

“We believe, increasingly, investors will come to see the value of these businesses that can manage all of their risks nimbly and astutely, as the world grapples with the challenges of a rising population with water, energy and food shortages.

“Socially responsible investing can create sustainable long-term wealth for all stakeholders. We need to learn to appreciate that doing business better will ultimately make for better business. Responsible investment is no longer a niche: it makes good business sense.”

We urge aspiring sustainable investors to read our Guide to Sustainable Investment, which is sure to provide you with all the information you need in order to take the socially responsible leap.

Further reading:

The Guide to Sustainable Investment

Survey reveals promising trends for sustainable investment

Ensuring your money doesn’t do harm: the ethical investment option

Ethical investment: money with a voice