Ethical Investment & Spending: What is it and Why You Should Consider It

07.09.2020 by Jim Ker

Where and how are you spending your money – but perhaps more importantly, where are you investing it?

How we spend and save our money has changed in recent years, with more and more of us spending our hard-earned cash in line with our own beliefs and morals. That could mean anything from buying only Fairtrade or organic food; supporting independent brands who put the environment first, or saying ‘no’ to fast fashion.

Ethical spending is more than just a conscious, individual decision, though…it’s a movement – so, are you part of it? Or would you like to be?

 

Ethical Spending is at a Record High

In the last few years alone, ethical consumer spending is at an all-time high, says The Guardian, with the market – including food, drinks, clothing and energy – rising almost fourfold in the past two decades.

The piece suggests that the average spend on ethical purchases per household has grown ‘from a paltry £202 a year in 1999 to £1,278 in 2018.’ It adds: ‘While back in 1999 the total size of the market was just £11.2bn, the report (which adjusts for inflation) says that, on a conservative basis, it has mushroomed to £41.1bn today.’

 

Do Your Bit

The figures look set to rise further still, with the movement being helped, in part, by the fact that key figures and influencers are publicly bucking the ethical spending trend.

Kate Middleton is a big fan of all things sustainable, particularly where fashion is concerned, while the EuroNews website rounds up a whole host of celebrities who continue to do their bit for the environment.

You can do the same, too, by dropping the high street and seeking out independent businesses; ‘going green’ where your utility providers are concerned or choosing a brand that favours eco-friendly packaging over plastic.

For those who’d like to start as they mean to go on, the Ethical Consumer site offers a wealth of information about living more ethically. Delve into a piece on high street clothes shops, in which the team ranks over 40 stores in terms of their ethics and commitment to their environment, or discover which mobile phone company to choose, with 15 mobile phone brands assessed and ranked.

Ethical spending is also about ensuring you’re spending your money with brands who pay their workers are decent living wage. The fact is, where – and how – you spend can create change, with the University of Glasgow’s Deirdre Shaw saying ethical consumerism can positively impact workers’ rights and broader ethical issues.

In an online interview on the Ethical Trading Initiative site, Deidre – The University’s Professor of Marketing and Consumer Research – says there are a range of factors that affect a consumer’s ability to ‘carry out their ethical desires and intentions’.

She says consumers should consider workers’ rights; to think about buying local; not to fly or to drive, and consume less energy – but says ‘when we think about that across all the choices we make every day, it can become very overwhelming [for the consumer].’

Deidre adds that consumers may prioritise different issues that are important to them but have ‘limited cognitive ability to process’ all the available options.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, too, perhaps start with one area of your life – or your spending – and go from there. Consider making a commitment to go plastic-free, for example, spend with independent shops online, or cut back on your energy consumption.

Investing Ethically

You may be confident that you’re spending your money ethically, but are you investing it in a similar way?

Investing money for your future could be one of the smartest moves you make, but that depends on where – and crucially, how – you invest.

Socially responsible investing is any investment strategy which considers financial return and anything that encourages social or environmental good. Ethical investing can bring about wider social change, but it starts by being dedicated to finding out where your investments are apportioned.

 

Research is Key

Environmentally focused investing is becoming mainstream, states The Guardian; it’s outperforming ‘traditional funds’. In the lockdown alone, there has been a rise in this type of investing, with ‘environmentalists cheered by huge improvements in air quality’.

To begin investing ethically, you must start by doing your research – into the brands and companies who have the environment’s best interests at heart. Increasingly, investors’ concerns cover everything from workers’ rights, gender quality, climate change and the environment, gambling, tobacco, and arms/weapons.

It’s no surprise these are consumers’ key concerns also.

Rest assured, then, that here at Kingston Unity, our ethical investment policy lays out exactly where we put your hard-earned cash. The aim of the policy is simple: to give you the reassurance that your money is being managed by the right people – and for your benefit.

Want to know more? Get in touch with our team and we’d be happy to discuss our policy in greater detail.

Please Note: You must confirm you have read the key facts, before downloading this document.

Key Facts about our services and costs

1. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The FCA is the independent watchdog that regulates financial services. This document is designed by the FCA to be given to consumers buying certain financial products. You need to read this important document. It explains the service you are being offered and how you will pay for it.

2. Whose products do we offer?

We offer products from the whole market

We only offer products from a limited number of companies

We only offer our own products

3. Which service will we provide you with?

We will advise and make a recommendation for you after we have assessed your needs.

You will not receive advice or a recommendation from us. We may ask some questions to narrow down the selection of products that we will provide details on. You will then need to make your own choice about how to proceed.

We will provide basic advice on a limited range of stakeholder products and in order to do this we will ask some questions about your income, savings and other circumstances but we will not:

  • conduct a full assessment of your needs;
  • offer advice on whether a non-stakeholder product may be more suitable.

We can only offer products from Kingston Unity Friendly Society. These products will enable you to:

  • protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of death
  • save and invest with the added benefit of protecting yourself and your loved ones in the event of death
  • provide benefit cover in the event of sickness

4. What will you have to pay us for our services?

Normally, if you buy a financial product direct from us, there will be no payments such as commission or fees payable. If there are any commission or fees payable, we will tell you how we get paid and the amount before we carry out any business for you.

5. Who regulates us?

Kingston Unity Friendly Society, 9 Navigation Court, Calder Park, Wakefield, WF2 7BJ is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and .the Prudential Regulation Authority. Kingston Unity Friendly Society’s FCA Registered Number is 110056.

Kingston Unity Friendly Society permitted business is advising and arranging life assurance and pensions business.

You can check this on the FCA’s Register by visiting the FCA’s website www.fsa.gov.uk/register or by contacting the FCA on 0845 606 1234.

6. What to do if you have a complaint

If you wish to register a complaint, please contact us:
…in writing Write to Kingston Unity Friendly Society, Complaints Department, 9 Navigation Court, Calder Park, Wakefield, WF2 7BJ. …by phoneTelephone (01924) 240164

If you cannot settle your complaint with us, you may be entitled to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

7. Are we covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)?

We are covered by the FSCS. You may be entitled to compensation from the scheme if we cannot meet our obligations. This depends on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim.

Most types of insurance business are covered for 90% of the claim with no upper limit.