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Balancing profit and planet

Striving to use impact to boost investment returns

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing, a socially responsible investing approach, seeks to harmonise financial returns with a company’s environmental impact, stakeholder relationships and global footprint. Our planet faces numerous challenges, from climate change to a rapidly growing and ageing population.

Understanding and incorporating ESG risks and opportunities into your investment strategy improves decision-making and enables you to seek more beneficial investment outcomes. By examining and synthesising ESG data, we can help you to make more informed and sustainable investment choices.

Preparing for future climate change

Responsible investing is aligning investments with personal values, investing in what is deemed right, and steering clear of industries or practices that contradict those values. Such issues were highlighted at COP28 last year during the 28th annual United Nations (UN) climate meeting, where governments discussed limiting and preparing for future climate change.

The summit was held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 30 November until 12 December 2023 and reviewed the Paris Agreement progress – the landmark climate treaty concluded in 2015 – charting a course of action to reduce emissions and protect lives dramatically.

Approach to three critical factors

ESG investing is a method of investing that prioritises companies that stand out in their approach to three critical factors. The environmental aspect considers a company’s energy use, sustainability policies, carbon emissions and efforts towards resource conservation.

The social component of ESG investing highlights a company’s relationships with its employees and the communities it serves. It examines factors like employee welfare, workplace safety and the company’s contribution to the community. Governance, the third pillar of ESG, scrutinises a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, independence, shareholder rights and transparency.

Commendable recycling policy

However, ESG categorisations can be open to interpretation, complicating matters for investors with specific ethical requirements. For instance, you could unknowingly invest in a sugary drinks manufacturer with a commendable recycling policy, earning it high ‘E’ scores. But are sugary drinks beneficial for society? Responsible investing can be subjective, with different issues holding varying levels of importance for different individuals.

The growing popularity of ESG investing has also attracted opportunists who falsely represent themselves as ESG businesses or funds. This practice, known as ‘greenwashing,’ is a pitfall that responsible investors need to sidestep.

Guard against greenwashing

How can ESG investors guard against greenwashing? The key lies in selecting companies with products or services that genuinely address global challenges. This is where ‘impact investing’ comes into the picture. Impact investing involves choosing companies that aim to impact the planet and its inhabitants positively. It encourages positive inclusion, naturally excluding exposure to undesirable sectors.

It’s about investing where there is potential for a positive contribution. By seeking out companies actively working to make a difference, you can be more confident that your investments contribute positively, rather than supporting companies that merely slap on an ESG label without genuinely striving to improve the world.

Ready to learn more about ESG and impact investing?

Feel confident in your investments with the right professional financial advice. Please get in touch with us if you want to learn more about ESG and impact investing or need help navigating this investment landscape. We’re here to guide you in making informed, responsible investment decisions.

THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS SUCH.

THE VALUE OF YOUR INVESTMENTS CAN GO DOWN AS WELL AS UP, AND YOU MAY GET BACK LESS THAN YOU INVESTED.

THE TAX TREATMENT IS DEPENDENT ON INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE IN FUTURE.

Adam Reeves

Author: Adam Reeves

DipPFS Cert CII (MP&ER)
Independent Financial Planner, Wealth Manager, Director

Last updated on

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Adam was quick to assess & understand my situation, and was able to discuss & communicate in a very concise and simple way the various options available to me, taking time for me to understand and clarify where necessary. My understanding & knowledge of taxation & pensions has increased significantly allowing me to feel much happier making financial decisions for the future.

Rob – West Sussex

Adam and his team undertook in-depth research into our existing QROPS schemes and clearly set out both pros and cons of transferring the funds back to the UK. Having decided to go ahead with the transfer, Adam and his team worked extremely hard to facilitate the transfer. The QROPS pension trustees were not always the most professional or responsive organisation – however we were very grateful for the perseverance and commitment that Adam showed us as clients.

Jonathan – East Sussex

Adam offered a range of financial products , the one he suggested was affordable and proved to be a good choice.  Returns on investments have exceeded my expectations, based on Adam’s advice and guidance. Profits have enabled house improvements to take place.

David - Surrey

Adam arranged an appointment very timely, he explained his role and qualifications as an IFA giving me reassurance , we went through my retirement and investment goals. Adam discussed my options explaining in great detail, I felt relaxed during our discussions allowing me to fully understand my choices. I feel very confident in the financial advice allowing me to enjoy my retirement.

I was very happy with Adam’s recommendations and explanations of financial products which would suit my retirement goals, I feel this has helped me review and reduce my financial risk as I reach retirement, leaving me feeling confident that I can enjoy my retirement plans.

Ron – West Sussex

After initial meeting Adam put together a very detailed and thorough written plan. At our second meeting he went through the whole booklet and explained everything in layman’s terms which made it a lot easier to understand.

I am very happy with everything that was suggested and put in place especially with something as big and important as pensions. Adam and his team have taken a huge weight off my shoulders and I would highly recommend their services to anyone needing help with their financial planning and pension.  Adam couldn’t have been more helpful, and even came outside his normal area to meet me on a number of occasions.

Richard - Kent

Unfortunately I had to claim on my critical illness insurance due to my wife being ill and because of the sound advice Adam gave in acquiring this insurance we ended up being financially safe through a tough time.

Steve - Kent

Adam did a review of our financial situation, confirmed that Flexible Drawdown best suited our needs as a family, and then did all the research into the best product for us. He will continue to monitor it for me. He acted extremely promptly because we had a deadline for requiring the lump sum; went out of his way arranging meetings during non-office hours, was professional yet friendly and explained a difficult subject very well.

Clare – East Sussex

Adam did a thorough review of my pension policies, clearly explained how well they had performed, how flexible they were, how the market regulation has changed, and, crucially, what the tax implications would be if I were to leave them untouched. He accurately assessed my attitude to risk and recommended an up-to-date solution that will offer me the greatest flexibility at retirement.

Greg – East Sussex
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