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Ethical and Social Investment

Updated 18/3/13

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This page

  • Basic issues;
  • Sources of information;
  • Investment funds;
  • Credit unions.


A growing activity of increasing interest to voluntary groups. Charities often feel constrained to pursue ethical investment (which here is taken to mean banking, pension schemes as well as trading in stocks and shares) by believing they have to maximise financial returns.

Firstly, ethical investments have had a good track record to date, where properly managed, although there are investment funds which specifically dont try to achieve high financial results.

Secondly, it is legitimate to take other issues into account, such as:
- investing in companies where the charity's objectives oppose its activities is clearly counter-productive to achieving those objectives.
- where investing in a company is likely to lose members, donations or public support, that too may not be in the best interests of the charity.
- some positive investments may be of help in achieving charity objectives, and slightly lower financial performance may therefore be justified.

Sources of information

These are gradually increasing in web presence.

Investment Funds, Banks, Investment Vehicles

Credit Unions

Credit Unions are mutual financial (and democractic) organisations, particularly promoted by community, coop and tradue union movements. Members are individuals, rather than organisations, but are part of the 'social investment scene'.