Further to our piece about charity Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust dumping shares in Reed Elsevier because of Reeds interests in the weapons market (Charity Matters, May 07 “Profiting from man’s inhumanity”) it is interesting to note the high percentage of investors generally who don’t want to see their money used in the grubby armaments industry.

According to charity the Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS) 48% of those placing investments for pension funds would not do so in companies manufacturing weapons.

Other no-go areas for the ethical, according to the survey, carried out in 1999 (NOP Solutions) were:

o Companies operating in oppressive regimes 56%

o Companies breaching environmental regulations 56%

o Companies testing products on animals 56%

o Companies developing genetically modified crops 45%.

o Tobacco companies 42%.

On the positive side respondents said they would like their money to support:

o Companies trading fairly with suppliers from third world countries 46%

o Companies with a good record for environmental issues (54%) employment conditions (51%) equal opportunities (45%) support of community projects (42%).

o Companies supplying products or services which meet basic human needs, such as food, or which solve important problems such as pollution (46%).

EIRIS also pointed out in Third Sector magazine recently that if all UK charities took an ethical approach to their investments an estimated £38 billion would support socially and environmentally responsible companies.

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