Letter: Ethical investors have clout

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The Independent Online
YOUR recent article entitled 'Moral maze for ethical investors' (Business, 28 August) disappointed and angered me. Your correspondent remained firmly on the fence in relation to an issue that must be crystal clear to anyone who seriously thinks about social and environmental issues.

How can it make sense for a person who supports development in the Third World to invest in companies that exploit the local population? How can it make sense for people who buy eco-friendly products to invest in companies that tear down tropical forests? Or does your correspondent believe that the environmental and human rights movements are marketing ploys, too?

Ethical investment is not driven by financial institutions like the Co-op Bank but by investors who are no longer willing to put their money into organisations that are at odds with their, the investors', values. As a financial adviser I know how passionately many investors feel about the issues. Your correspondent admitted that they are increasing and that the ethical funds have outperformed the average, yet he seemed completely unwilling to entertain the idea that this could be due to a real grassroots movement among investors. According to a Mintel survey last year, they make up about one-third of the investing public. Fund managers who ignore this movement do so at their peril.

Dominic Stuart

Barchester Green Investment

London NW10