Ethical, Sustainable and Responsible Investments from Healthy Investment
Our Ethical Journey
Formed in 1835 we have a long history and tradition of being an ethical organisation. And those first founders also believed, as we still do, that you can only do this by investing in things that don’t cause harm to others. That’s why, for many years, we have avoided investing in companies that are directly involved in the alcohol, tobacco, pornography, gambling or arms trades.
It is a source of enormous pride to us to have been at the forefront of ethical investment from its inception, long before it received mainstream attention. However, the sector now is very different from how it was ten, let alone 30 years ago, and it is important that we not only remain true to our founders’ values but also to those of our current membership, and to meet the challenges of a globalised world gripped by a range of social and environmental crises.
Our members have confirmed that they want us to be stricter in terms of the range of sectors and activities we exclude from our portfolios and, in tandem, to take a more positive approach to seeking out investments that make a difference. They don’t just want to invest with clear consciences but actually to put their money to work making the world a better place. As a result, a number of additional screening criteria were added to the list of sectors to avoid, in addition our fund manager seeks out opportunities to invest in companies and activities that provide a social or environmental benefit.
We avoid investing your money in industries that are harmful to society and the environment:
We avoid investing in companies in certain industries and those whose activities are not in accord with our members’ personal values. These include a range of environmental exclusions. Companies with unethical business or employment practices are also now systematically excluded.
Examples are the tobacco, armaments, alcohol and fur manufacturing industries, gambling and pornography providers and companies that manufacture products or ingredients that have been tested on animals.
We invest your money in industries that improve the world we live in:
We seek to invest in companies that are explicitly involved in activities that benefit society and the environment. Healthy Investment’s fund manager seeks out opportunities to invest in companies and activities that provide a social or environmental benefit. As well as investing in renewable energy, this also means backing companies that have strong environmental policies and processes, those with a demonstrable commitment to strong labour practices and employee welfare, and businesses that uphold the highest international standards of human rights and business ethics while operating in countries where these might not be the norm.
Examples are companies that are tackling climate change, promoting a low carbon economy, promoting diversity and equal opportunities, and improving energy efficiency.
We aim to deliver good financial returns and make a difference to society:
Our vision is to invest for a better future, deliver good financial returns and make a difference to society and the environment. Our investment managers engage with companies to ensure that good corporate behaviour is adopted by companies in which we invest. We believe that this active engagement will encourage companies to improve their governance performance.
Our fund managers, Aberdeen Standard Investments manage the With-profits Fund in line with PRI principles
Members who are invested in the Ethical With-profits Fund get access to the cutting edge of modern ethical, sustainable and responsible investing while retaining the benefits of products that smooth investment returns by holding back a proportion of the returns achieved in years of strong performance to help reduce the volatility that might otherwise be experienced in years of falling or weaker markets.
Moving our fund management mandate over to Aberdeen Standard Investments, which is one of the biggest investment managers in the world, also means that when our fund manager votes at an AGM or speaks to a company’s management about issues relating to our members’ values, it often does so as one of that company’s largest shareholders, with significant sway over board decisions.
Our fund manager will also actively vote at the AGMs of companies in which Healthy Investment has shareholdings, taking into account a range of governance and remuneration issues, and voting against the Chair in cases where the board is deemed to fall short on environmental, social, health and safety or human rights issues. They will, in the first instance, engage with companies involved in desirable activities but whose business practices fall short of the expected standard to encourage improvements, but will, as a last resort, disinvest from such companies.