Great Britain’s windfarms set a new clean energy record on Monday after the blowy bank holiday weather helped onshore and offshore wind turbines make up almost half of the electricity system.
Despite the pandemic, almost two thirds of people around the world now view climate change as a global emergency.
That’s the key finding from the largest opinion poll yet conducted on tackling global warming.
More than a million people in 50 countries took part in the survey, with almost half the participants aged between 14 and 18.
Conserving forests and land emerged as the most popular solution for tackling the issue.
Analysis conducted by investment platform Interactive Investor shows that ethical funds are capable of producing better returns than non-ethical siblings run by the same investment house.
“Make Our Money Count”
– Public Demand for Sustainable Pensions & Savings Reaches Record High
Climate Anxiety is taking hold of our younger friend and relations, as a member of Women in Sustainability I regularly meet to exchange ideas on a range of subjects including sustainable fashion, food waste and how to make a positive difference in the world we inhabit.
As a member of the Ethical Investment community, I work with clients to ensure their money is used to meet their needs first and then to meet their values.
Until recently it has been a slow burn, with many critics and challenges from within the retail investment community. However, attitudes are changing and so are the opportunities.
The City’s Green Initiative is a welcome response.
The City institutions are now on board, fearing overwhelming insurance claims from disasters caused by the changing weather and reducing values of assets within the larger pension funds, most of which have historically relied on returns from fossil fuels.
The benefit of running a small firm, allowing freedom to move quickly, is that I recognised the opportunities to invest in alternative energy, new science and engineering developments.
Having access to excellent research on what is actually in the chosen funds, I have been able to provide investments that have outperformed the stock market for the last 5 years.
They have been good for my clients and good for our future.
My research process allows for client specific investments that meet their values and avoid investments in things they are unhappy about, for example a young Vet student recently asked me to invest only in funds that have a good Animal Welfare approach.
I have always believed that Capitalism is good, but it must be Good Capitalism.
Providing money to help solve problems;
ESG means Ethical Social and Governance.
Governance means that the providers of collective funds demand changes at Board level in the way firms are run, for the benefit of their employees, the local community and their supply chain.
Profile: Jan Oliff on tragedy that led her to ethical investments
By Amanda Newman Smith 5th November 2018
Sometimes the reasons people do the jobs they do or hold certain views are intensely personal.
That is the case with Jan, director, Jan Oliff Financial Planning.
Since establishing her own business in 1992, Jan has built a reputation as an ethical investment specialist.
Like many advisers in the field, Jan has generated business through a genuine interest in helping others and aiming to create a better world. But ask her why she became interested in socially responsible investment in the first place and it becomes clear it was for personal reasons rather than business ones.
“My mother died in 1986 at a young age.
Nobody had told her smoking was dangerous and she had lung cancer. I wanted to invest some money that she had left me into something that avoided tobacco. Only the Stewardship fund offered that at the time, so I invested in it and that was my way into the SRI* marketplace,” she says.
Jan believes the SRI* market has gained many supporters as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.
“Clients felt let down by financial services around the time of the crisis and people are becoming increasingly aware of issues such as damage to the environment.
“Everyone has their own story and their own values based on personal experience. Some are more interested in governance issues than the environment and vice-versa,” she says. “I have one client who is in her 80s and she wouldn’t invest in gambling because, as a young teacher in Glasgow, she was seeing children coming to school with no shoes on because daddy had spent all the money in the betting shop.”
What is the best bit of advice you’ve received in your career?
Don’t retire. It came from my 92-year-old neighbour, a district nurse who retired at 72 and thought it was far too soon.
What keeps you awake at night?
Nothing to do with work. If it was, I’d give it up.
What has had the most significant impact on financial advice in the last year?
Increasing awareness of values and governance.
If I was in charge of the Financial Conduct Authority for a day I would …
Listen to a representative sample of workers as the go-to people for ideas to improve the system and culture.
Any advice for new advisers?
Use your brain and your emotional intellect. Together they are powerful.
Jan was drawn to the financial services world following some tragic personal events that really brought home to her the need for people to plan their finances.
Her sister was widowed at the age of 29 and she sadly lost a friend in a car crash. At the time, her friend had everything to live for; he and his wife had just had a baby and were in the middle of renovating their home. “His wife had to return home to her parents because they had no life insurance,” says Jan .
Wanting to get the message across to people that it was important to be financially resilient, just in case the worst happened, Jan joined Barclays Life in 1981 and stayed there for 11 years. However, by 1992 she had become disillusioned and it was then she decided to set up her own financial advice firm.
“It had become clear that banks were giving priority to selling contracts that made money for them. I left Barclays early in 1992, at a time when the country was in deep recession and jobs were scarce. I’d relocated to Bristol, I had just got married and everything combined to say it would be better to create something,” she says.
So what has it been like for her to do that as a woman in financial services?
“It’s been largely amusing and sometimes frustrating. At times, my physical appearance is the only thing that seems to matter,” she says.
“My frustration comes in at the lack of understanding about the insight and intellect that women can bring to the industry. As head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde recently said if it had been Lehman Sisters rather than Lehman Brothers, we would have avoided the crash. I’m not going to argue with that.”
Jan thinks getting more women into the industry will happen naturally, once men with old-style, sexist attitudes have left.
“The industry will get rid of the wrong type of bloke and more women will come in once they’re gone. Things are a lot better now, but the bad attitudes are still there. Even women have that bad attitude at times. The whole culture in financial services has been one of bullying and disrespect. You have to stand up to it,” she says.
For some women, perhaps the misconception that financial advice is all about facts and figures rather than building relationships and finding solutions to problems puts them off it as a career choice. Jan points out the fact many advisers rely on their para-planners for the more technical side of the job.
“The para-planners are the ones doing the numbers; they do most of the technical stuff. Take a lot of IFAs away from their para-planners and they’d be lost.”
Trust and transparency are things Jan works hard at in relation to her clients. She is a member of Soroptimist International, a global volunteer organisation that has more than 75,000 members in 120 countries. With human rights and gender equality at its heart, the aim is to make women’s voices heard and help fund local causes.
However, Jan believes any sort of volunteering – whether it is charitable work or providing pro bono advice – should be for the right reasons and not to promote a professional service. Her thoughts on creating more widespread consumer trust in advisers are as simple as starting with the way you treat your colleagues and clients.
“I truly believe if every practice has a culture of respect for clients and colleagues, so it becomes unacceptable to say abusive or unkind things, if you do that, you gain trust,” she says.
“We are moving forward, as there are many good advisers who are great for the profession. But we need to get rid of the ugly ones as they cost the rest of us a lot in terms of our reputation and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies. I’m still confronted by people at conferences that make me think ‘what on earth are you still doing in this profession?’.
“Every profession has this, but I wonder why we tolerate it. We need to encourage those individuals to get out and earn their income elsewhere.”
* SRI – Sustainable Responsible Investing
The Government’s “Growing a Culture of Social Impact Investing in the UK” report is
April has definitely been a busy month in terms of clean energy Continue reading “A busy month of clean energy milestones”
For me it can mean a wide variety of options and opportunities and, to the surprise of many, it also means serious investment.
This article, kindly provided by Pictet Asset Management gives the story of water investment. You can see this as purely an investment opportunity, as an opportunity to use your investment monies for a better world; or you can also see the human and social benefits.
This is also an invitation to think more creatively about how you invest and to do that all you need to do is talk to Jan.
This is what Pictet is involved in . . . . .
The private water supply sector consists of companies serving the population through the supply and storage of drinking water.
By 2050, up to 4 billion people across the world could be living under ‘severe’ water stress, up from 1.2 billion today.
Economic growth is exacerbating the water shortage as it boosts personal wealth, leading to increased consumption of products that require more water to produce, such as animal protein.
For example, producing a kilogram of beef requires 15,000 litres of water, six times more than is needed to produce the same amount of rice.
Governments are increasingly unable to maintain supply due to tight budgets and ageing infrastructure.
This means that private companies will play an ever-more important role throughout the human water cycle, especially in North America and Central & Eastern Europe, where they are expected to increase their market share by more than 10 per cent between 2013 and 20253.
With other regions, such as South America and Asia, requiring up to USD 14 trillion of investment by 2030 to secure their water supply, there will be countless opportunities for companies involved in innovative water supply solutions, such as water recycling and desalination, to profit.
The water technology sector consists of companies developing the tools and systems to improve the efficiency with which we use water.
For instance, as much as 75 per cent of the world’s available freshwater supply is unsafe for consumption due to contamination or pollution.
Governments can enact measures to safeguard water sources from pollutants, but it is private companies involved in the development of innovative filtration systems, such as permeable membranes or UV filtration, that will provide solutions to these issues.
In developing countries, more than 45 million cubic metres of water are lost through leaks every day. The cost of improving existing public infrastructure globally is predicted to exceed USD20 trillion between 2005 and 20304.
Companies producing innovative water technology solutions, such as next-generation sensors and monitoring equipment that can increase the efficiency of water usage and help avoid wastage through leaks, represent compelling investment opportunities.
With 70 per cent of the world’s available freshwater used to support agricultural production, governments are now tackling the wasteful use of water in this sector, such as through the fines California has imposed on those who irrigate their crops in daylight hours during droughts.
This focus on waste is creating opportunities for companies making advances in agricultural water technology, such as drip irrigation, which only intermittently wets the soil that is closest to the crop, and thus provides higher moisture levels while using less water.
There is growing awareness, especially within developing countries, about the need to deal with the water supply problems arising from improper solid waste disposal, which in China has led to nearly 60 per cent of the country’s underground water and a third of its surface water being classed as ‘unfit for human contact’.
The Chinese government is determined to improve this situation, with its 2015 ‘Water Ten Plan’ putting in place tough targets on polluting industries to provide ecological and environmental protection. With industrial wastewater treatment in China reaching around 90 per cent penetration, the focus will shift to tackling the rise of domestic waste output.
Companies operating in the environmental services sector and providing solutions to waste water collection and its treatment are predicted to benefit.
As an experienced and enthusiastic adviser [IFA] in this area I am pleased to Continue reading “Breakthrough for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR)”
Each day 1,800 tons of pine and timber slash, sustainably harvested within a 60-mile radius Continue reading “America’s First All-Renewable-Energy City”
Yesterday we learned that the new President of the United States is to be Donald Trump – the candidate who called global warming ‘fictional’ and threatened to ‘cancel’ the Paris Agreement so many of us have worked hard to achieve. But is all lost for our transition to a low carbon global economy? We don’t think so.
The unprecedented international co-operation on climate change has seen a booming low carbon economy. Key points: renewables have overtaken coal, electric vehicles are the auto growth segment and ‘clean’ jobs are being created faster than any other. This is all happening globally and in the US.
Conservative strongholds and Trump states, such as Texas and North Carolina, are developing clean energy industries attracting new investment and jobs. They are unlikely to wave all that goodbye. In 2015, the clean energy industry brought $6.96 billion to North Carolina, boasting more than 26,000 full time jobs, 3,150 of which were created in 2015 alone. In Texas, more than 100,000 people are now working in the renewables sector. Of Trump’s voting public, 70% consider it a ‘high priority’ to cut greenhouse gas emissions with 40% of Republicans worried about climate change.
We don’t know yet how Mr Trump will act on climate policy, but we think the progress achieved to date is irreversible.
Contact Charlene Cranny at UKSIF for more information and resources around climate action.
Good Money Week aims to ensure that everyone knows they have sustainable and ethical options when it comes to their financial decisions.
Good Money Week takes place this year from 30th October- 5th November.
During this annual event we make it a focus for the financial editors of national papers to publish real life stories about people who make the choice to invest in Socially Responsible Investments, (SRIs). The important thing is that they are not odd or extreme in their principles but normal people who take the time to consider the potential outcomes of investing.
If you can invest and get the same, or better, return on your investment and be certain that the investment meets your ethical values, then surely that’s a win-win.
There are of course the cynics who question those good intentions. In the same way that a driver of an electric vehicle is challenged over the source of the electricity they charge the vehicle with. Most of us ensure it’s from either wind or solar but it does not stop the cynics. Somehow doing thoughtful things, like using alternative energy or composting garden waste and not burning it is still considered odd!
Someone please explain it to me?
You might want also to explain why some prefer to drive a mile rather than walk. Walking restores your energy levels and keeps you fit, driving causes pollution, outside the school, in green spaces and around your homes! It’s a responsible life-style choice.
So therefore, if investing in thoughtful and responsible ways provides good returns and respects your values, what stops you?
Is it a lack of understanding, a question of not knowing where to find responsible investments or preferring to leave money with your bank so they can do irresponsible things with it?
To find out more about Good Money Week – goodmoneyweek.com
Or talk to me?
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that”
Quite. And he said that in 1931
This is taken directly from the Blue & Green Tomorrow web site
“We found the quote at the end of a great article on the New York Times Magazine website in its Current Thinking column, that was current thinking from 2007! Nine years on it’s still worth a read ( http://nyti.ms/1osEwbL ).
“You hold in your hand (on your smartphone, tablet or desktop) the fourth edition of our Guide and the current thinking remains – we’d put our money on solar energy, but also wind, tidal, wave and geothermal. And nuclear?
“Recently the UK government decided it would put our money on nuclear with the Hinkley Point C after months of dithering, perfectly illustrating everything that is wrong with government strategic thinking and energy policy. The wrong technology, with the wrong partners at the wrong price.
“Which is why we’re delighted to have contributions from Tidal Lagoon Power, Abundance Energy, Bristol Energy Cooperative and the excellent investment organisation (Alliance Trust, Foresight, Impax, Triodos and WHEB) that are putting money into distributed clean energy and storage – the right technology, with the right partners at the right price.
“And we also have an article about nuclear fusion – a technology which divides the environmentally minded. We don’t have a strong opinion on nuclear fusion and wanted to just present the technology. We believe you are more than capable of forming your own judgment.”
Read the Blue & Green Guide – here
One thing is clear, there are some difficult social challenges that the Continue reading “Difficult Social challenges”