Ethical Investing  

New Year's resolutions: saving and environment come out top

New Year's resolutions: saving and environment come out top

Saving more and helping the environment are the most popular New Year's resolutions for 2020, according to research. 

Research published by BMO showed just more than one third (34 per cent) of people said helping the environment in some way was a top priority for them going into the New Year. 

Almost one in five (17 per cent) said they wanted to reduce the number of plastic items they use, while 11 per cent said they wanted to make a conscious effort to think more about the environment in 2020. 

Meanwhile, more than a quarter (28 per cent) vowed to find extra money to put away this year, according to BMO.

Ross Duncton, managing director, head of direct at BMO, said: “It’s encouraging to see how many people are using the start of the New Year as an opportunity to reset their money habits, as well as make a real effort to reduce the negative impact they have on the environment.

“The start of a New Year is a natural time to review personal finances and begin the year as you mean to go on. 

"Those looking to save money over the longer-term by investing in the stock market either directly or through funds may be pleased to hear that there are investment options which aim to grow your money while also having a positive impact on the environment or society – helping to tick off a couple of the most popular resolutions at the same time.”

Sustainable investing has grown in popularity this past year, as environmental, social and governance funds and capital flow continued to increase.

But there was also some criticism in particular with regards to so-called greenwashing, making funds appear more green than they actually are.

To help shed some light on the options available in the ethical investment space, BMO listed four types of responsible funds and the type of investor they may be best suited to:

  1. Screened funds: investors wishing to align their investment with morals or ethical values. This is also known as Socially Responsible Investment or “dark green funds” and adopts the most stringent approach by excluding certain companies that do not align with the investor’s objectives. 
  2. Best in class funds: also called ‘light-green funds’, these take a “best in sector” approach, not excluding companies but concentrating on most socially responsible companies in a particular sector. These may be suitable for investors who want their fund manager to look at environmental, social and governance issues but don’t feel comfortable with excluding entire industries.
  3. Thematic funds: Impact funds select companies on the basis of their positive contribution to environmental or social solutions - suitable for investors looking to generate performance from companies involved in 'industries of the future'.
  4. Engagement: this involves the fund manager engaging with the companies they invest in on a range of sustainability or governance issues as well as using their right to vote on major corporate issues at shareholder meetings. These funds could suit investors looking for their managers to be actively involved with companies.