Ethical investing – who’s got your money?

April 19, 2016

When we hand over our hard-earned cash to a financial institution, how many of us stop and think what happens to it next? Are our savings being used for something we would be unhappy about? And do we care enough to do anything about it?

A money merry-go-round

The money in your bank account doesn’t just sit there until you hit the cash machine at 2am when you fancy a kebab after your night out. Your bank lends it on to others at interest. They lend it to other individual customers but also to large corporations, public institutions and even governments.

While the Treasury has some say in who banks can and can’t do business with, they may support companies that you might not approve of and use your money to do it.

How would you feel if your bank was lending money to a forestry company, destroying Orangutan habitats, or even to a regime with a poor human rights record?

The accidental investor

Some people spend their whole lives trying to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. Eating organic mung beans, wearing hessian clothing and sorting through 19 types of recycling each week. Then they find out that the bulk of their pension has been invested in an oil company for their entire working lives.

There is another way

Society’s increasing awareness of corporate social responsibility is having an impact on financial services. Investments, bank accounts, pensions and mortgages based on ethical principles are now available.

If you already live your life in strict accordance with a particular belief system, ethical investing should make a great deal of sense to you. If you’re an average investor with just a few shares, you may well feel that you won’t be able to have much influence on a company. You could be right, but chances are you’ll sleep better at night knowing that your investment choices are aligned with your beliefs.

Ethical investing – an individual choice

There is no absolute standard for what can be considered an ethical investment. What one person finds abhorrent can seem quite innocuous to someone else. It can take quite a bit of individual soul searching. Each investor must ultimately decide for themselves what they consider to be ethical choices but, here at GreenSky, we can certainly help you to match up your principles with your investment decisions.

In fact, in our next blog, we’ll take a closer look at some of the interesting questions that ethical investors need to ask themselves. Stay tuned…


This article is for general use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. It should not be relied upon in its entirety and shall not be deemed to be or constitute advice. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. The value of your investments can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you invested.  

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