You are a model citizen. You recycle your glass bottles. You separate your household waste. You don’t run the tap while you brush your teeth. You buy A rated appliances. You are doing everything in your power to save the planet, except you won’t give up that foreign holiday and you don’t pay exceptional attention to the carbon footprint of the Asparagus and Avocados you eat.
You are also fiscally continent. You paid attention to all the good advice not to spend all your cash. You have been squirreling away a good solid percentage of your pay packet. If you are lucky your employer has been matching your contributions. If you live in certain countries the Government is also matching your contributions by making them tax free. Year by year that nest egg is growing and growing to provide you with a well feathered retirement nest.
What is that money doing? Did you think it was sitting in a bank, accumulating cobwebs? You know that the pension fund does something with it, but what? Do you pay attention to how your money is used on your behalf? Perhaps you should.
We read news reports about global corporate businesses exploiting people all over the world and how they damage the environment with oil spills, or cutting down rain forest, employing child labour etc etc. We see these news reports and we are shocked. We wonder who these evil business people are, and how they can do this.
Wake up, the evil global corporation is you. It’s your money out there.
Your fund managers are acting on your behalf. What is their motivation? The more successful their fund is the more money it attracts and the more commission they make. In the world of cut throat financial competition the hard numbers are what talk. Success is measured in financial return, not in how many ice-floes you prevented from melting this quarter.
Are you supplying the guns to child soldiers in Africa? There is good money in weapon sales. Perhaps you are funding the expansion of a large tobacco company into South East Asia. The regulatory environment is not so strict there, so you can sell more product to the under 18’s. Maybe you are heavily invested in farming, and that’s OK isn’t it? Perhaps you are growing soya beans, in Brazil, in cleared Rain Forest. And those soya beans are fed to cattle in intensive feed lots, where the run off is polluting local rivers. Maybe that beef led to an outbreak of eColi in the human population.
Truth is you haven’t a clue, have you?
Truth is, you don’t really want to know. You kind of know that once you lift the lid on that particular can of worms it’s going to be ugly. You want to take the empties to the bottle bank, pat yourself on the back, and call yourself a good citizen.
With one stroke of a pen, moving your fund into ethical investments, you can make a larger impact on the planet than a lifetime of visits to the bottle bank.
All those pension brochures show you the picture of the couple on the beach enjoying their retirement. What they fail to show is the mountain of plastic waste on the beach. If you want the clean beach you need to do something about it today.