Where do I start??


where do I start?

Eight things you can do:

1. Review your present savings and investments to find out what your money is currently supporting:
* Your bank and other financial service providers make use of any money in your account, investing it to earn interest while you are not using it. Question them about their codes of business ethics and social and environmental policies, and how these are applied when investing your money. You can ask for information on their investment policies, and whether investments are screened for their social, ethical and environmental impact, both positive and negative. Also ask about corporate governance - the standards of business conduct that apply to the board of directors which oversees the company's business.
* If you hold company shares directly, ask these same questions of the company and find out if they produce a social or environmental report.
* If you are a member of a pension scheme ask for a copy of the 'Statement of Investment Principles' relating to your fund. If this does not include social or environmental considerations, ask them why not.
2. Seek investment advice from a financial adviser who specialises in socially responsible investment. Specialist SRI advisers offer all the services of a mainstream adviser, but can also advise you on aligning your financial plans with your values and beliefs. Find an SRI Financial Adviser
3. Whether you have a lump sum to invest or are putting away savings regularly, consider investing in a socially responsible investment fund or funds.
4. If you have a personal pension transfer your contributions to one of the socially responsible funds. Many socially responsible funds can be used for this, or for paying in Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)
5. Consider moving your current bank account (or savings account) to a socially responsible bank eg The Co-operative Bank or Triodos Bank. Building societies which have not demutualised also offer current bank accounts. If you are reluctant to move your account, ask your bank for a copy of their policy.
6. Buy shares and invest directly in companies with strong corporate social responsibility so you can encourage and support them. Alternatively, invest directly in those companies that need to change, and influence their corporate conduct through shareholder resolutions and voting with your shares.
7. If you invest in gilts, keep in mind that they are government loans and are used to finance a wide range of public spending. As well as health and education this also includes defence. If you are concerned about the arms trade, it's up to you to decide whether this is outweighed by financing areas such as hospitals and schools.
8. Think about moving your car insurance to an insurer with an ethical track record. For example, the Environmental Transport Association does not lobby for more roads.


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