Ethical investing and the plastics pollution plague

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The popular BBC One television series Blue Planet II typifies media coverage drawing attention to the environmental damage caused by plastic waste. This programme and others like it point out the global reach of plastic detritus, its chemical toxicity and appallingly harmful effects on wildlife and sea creatures.

Available choices constrain individuals seeking to reduce their plastics use. Although supermarket chains appear to be making some efforts with plastic packaging, considerable work is still required. The government has taken the lead with plastics bags charging, although rules have been relaxed temporarily due to the COVID19 pandemic. However, the government banned plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds from April 2020.

Ethical investing can also contribute. It can encourage change by supporting environmentally-minded companies while avoiding those that contribute to the problem. Wealth management firms with expertise in ethical investing can support this process. P1 Investment Management asked all its ethical fund managers to complete a survey on how they are addressing plastics, due to be published in August 2020. The results are being used to promote higher standards on this issue. Meanwhile, this has given P1 valuable insight into the ethical funds with the most robust credentials in this area.

Q G Rayer (2020), Ethical investing and the plastics pollution plague, The Private Investor, the newsletter of the UK Shareholders’ Association, issue 207, August, p15-16, 24th August 2020.

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