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.
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.