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Ethical investing

Ethical investing, also known as socially responsible investing, covers a broad range of financing strategies which seek to maximise both social and financial returns on investment – or at least, reduce the negative impacts of investments. Investments can be screened negatively – to exclude, for example, companies and organisations which are responsible for exploitative labour practices, cause harm to people and planet and are at odds with the values and mission of the investing organisation. So, for example, companies which pollute or sell and manufacture weapons, alcohol and tobacco are avoided. Investments can also be screened positively to include companies which further social and environmental goals. For example, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund follows a series of ethical guidelines issued by the Ministry of Finance – these include the stipulation that the fund cannot make investments which ‘may contribute to unethical acts of omissions, such as violations of fundamental humanitarian principles, serious violations of human rights, gross corruption or severe environmental damages. The website Your Ethical Money provides advice on how to direct personal investment into green, sustainable and ethical products.