At Sheldon Flanders we are committed to doing the right thing – for our clients, our team and the wider community. We are a small business, but we believe that even the smallest business has a responsibility to do what we can to make the world a better place.
With ongoing news coverage of the effects of climate change, we have been asking ourselves this year how we can leave a smaller imprint on the world.
At the same time we have been hearing more and more from the financial institutions that we work with about investing with a conscience.
Ethical investing has been around for a while and covers issues such as not animal testing or investing in tobacco or arms. These funds traditionally didn’t do so well but more recently we have been learning about ESG funds. ESG stands for environmental, social and governance factors.
ESG is an overall term for an approach to investing where we consider the values of the businesses we are investing in, as well as the financial return we may achieve. Environmental factors might include the business’ energy consumption or their policy on climate change. Social factors could include their track record on workers’ rights, equality and diversity or the gender pay gap. Governance issues are to do with the way the company is run.
Making a change
We have always been a values led business, but we have decided to update our values this year, and put a focus on these investments. With every new client when we research suitable investments for them, from now on we will only recommend sustainable investments. We will explain these funds clearly to you when we present our recommendations, and are always happy to explain any aspect of the fund and their features.
Our commitment to provide clear information to clients on all the available options remains firm. We will be happy to listen to your own preferences for funds, and can focus on investments in, for example, sustainable technology or we can ensure particular industries or countries are excluded from your portfolio.
For existing clients we will discuss your options at your next regular review, and we can make any changes that you wish. We want to encourage forward thinking and responsible approaches to investing and we promise to have those open conversations with you.
A word about greenwashing
You may have heard the term greenwashing, which is when companies over inflate their “green” credentials as part of an overall marketing strategy.
We are very aware that there isn’t an industry standard definition of ESG investments, so we will need to do our homework on each individual fund before we recommend it to a client. This is an area that will continue to change. So as the financial industry continues to develop its approach to ESG investments, we will continue to stay up to date with the latest thinking and ensure our clients have the very best advice.
Improving how we do business
Alongside this major commitment, we are also determined to make changes in our office. We are working to reduce our consumption of paper and plastics, as well as offering online appointments to clients. These are small every day steps that we can make, and we know that our clients will be keen to support us.
Please do get in touch to talk to us about our commitment to ESG investing.
You can read our full mission and values statement on our website.