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Good money after bad

By Investors Chronicle

This week is 'Good Money Week' - if you haven't heard of it before it's because for the last several years it has been called National Ethical Investment week. Why the rebrand? The cynic in me would suggest it's because investors have never really taken to ethical investing in a big way - just 1 per cent of retail funds are said to be invested in ethical products. I do not believe, however, that this is because we investors are all heartless swine only after filthy lucre, but because ethical investments have a reputation for leaving us out of pocket - and, for that matter, not delivering much ethical benefit either. Royal Dutch Shell, for example, is a holding in many ethical funds despite a less than spotless track record, especially on pollution and human rights in Nigeria.

Ethical investment's tarnished reputation isn't, of course, entirely deserved - there are good ethical products that match up to the performance of their more mainstream peers, and invest in a way that offers genuine social benefit. And as the chief executive of environmental fund management group Impax told me last year, such funds address issues that investors ignore at their peril.

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