How women can invest more ethically | Letters

Your article on why women need to start investing to exercise more control over their futures (Why finance is a feminist issue, G2, 9 April) contains much sound advice. However, it neglects an important consideration. If, as Emilie Bellet explains, women are “looking more at where we want to be in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time”, then we also need to think hard about the kind of future our money is going to support. Many women – and men – would be horrified to think that the price for their own security is increased uncertainty and instability across the world, as many funds continue to rely heavily on the fossil fuel and extractive industries. Even so-called ethical funds are often only undertaking basic negative screening, for example ruling out pornography, weapons, tobacco and gambling, but with very little to say on climate risk. The real bottom line is that there is no money to be made on a dead planet.

Happily, this can be a win-win situation. Increasingly, fund managers are recognising the risk of the “carbon bubble” and are starting to shift their own funds. And evidence is growing that over the long term, sustainable investments can outperform the broken business-as-usual market. But this shift won’t happen without ongoing consumer pressure on the financial sector. An influx of motivated women into this space presents an excellent opportunity.

At Friends of the Earth we have been campaigning for fossil fuel divestment and corporate accountability for many years. Through our innovation work we are currently piloting a new peer-led programme for women who want to take control of their finances, but in a way that supports their vision for a safe and liveable planet. Your readers may find the recently published Good Guide to Impact Investing a good place to start.
Mary Stevens
Experiments programme manager, Friends of the Earth

Your article says “if you had invested £1 in the FTSE 250 10 years ago, it would now have grown to £2.53, once inflation is taken into account”. However, if you had invested it in 2007 rather than 2009 it would only just have recovered its value. Admittedly, you would have received dividends, but these were not guaranteed to do better than if you had put the money in Ernie.
Margaret Squires
St Andrews, Fife

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