If you feel strongly about certain issues you can still invest for profit without compromising your principles. Ethical investment will ensure that your cash is not invested in companies that destroy the environment, are involved in the arms trade, back animal testing, support repressive regimes or are involved in gambling or pornography. You can also avoid firms which have a poor employee rights record or promote alcohol or tobacco consumption.
On the other hand, there may be positive reasons for investing in a particular company. For example it may have specific environmental protection practices or have ethical employment practices, such as recognising trade unions or treating workers fairly.
But ethical investment isn’t just about a clear conscience – it can also make good financial sense. The theory is that companies which behave responsibly run less risk of hitting problems with regulators, costly court actions, strikes or boycotts of their products.
The ethical investment market is growing fast and there are now a whole range of ethical products available including savings accounts, unit trusts, investment trusts, Isas and pensions.