What you do with it is increasingly becoming part of your social identity, as much as the car you drive, or the shoes you wear.
And this week, there were signs that more people want their money to appease their social conscience via their investments.
New research published yesterday showed that around 77 per cent of people would prefer a pension fund that was built around social objectives rather than a conventional fund.
The research from Standard Life Investments also found that employees would be willing to accept a reduction on their pension pot of 8 per cent if the fund also appeased their desire to do some good with their retirement savings.
Chiming in on the same note, a fund manager for First State said in an interview that sustainability should be the most important part of any investment strategy. So, for example, no harrassing fishermen or indirect endorsement of child labour if you want your money to flourish in the long-term.
More signs that people are ” literally, buying in to the concept of using money more consciously” from Triodos Bank, which saw a 31 per cent jump in net profits in 2012 on the previous year.
So as more people wise up to better “sustainable” investing and the old guard of Machiavellian, profit-at-any-price fund managers start to think about early retirement, the boom in renewable energy investment, driven partly by consumers angry over rising energy bills, could also mean it is schmossil schmuels to fossil fuels sooner than we think.
For ”sustainable” is also the watch word for the renewables industry, according to Deutsche Bank, which believes the sector will be capable of standing on its own two feet, without subsidy, from next year.
Dinosaur juice is so last decade and the future is looking very clean indeed.
Certainly, there is evidence of a growing appetite for wind and solar power among UK households. This week, half of all UK consumers said they would switch to green energy if the price was right; renewables were reported to be performing strongly while gas, oil and nuclear declined; Shell predicted solar will be the world’s main power source by the second half of the century; and oil-rich countries Saudi Arabia and Libya are looking to renewables for profit and power.
It was a good week for marine power, too. The annual Wave and Tidal Conference in London ushered in a tide of optimism and, most importantly, big corporate investors. With the likes of Seimens and Alstom on board, Carbon Trust’s Dr Stephen Wyatt says the industry is finally growing up. RenewablesUK said the UK is ahead of the game in tidal power, but the financial support needs to carry on.
British Gas posted an increase in profits of 11 per cent, causing uproar. Chris Goodall at Carbon Commentary highlights the difference in spiel given to customers versus that offered to investors and our own Rebecca O’Connor says that we need people power on power to beat the price rises.
The Guardian’s Damian Carrington blames political dithering for the never ending rise in cost, insisting we need focused investment in renewable energy to help keep prices in check. Ernst & Young agrees, saying that the Energy Bill “falls short of expectations” and is undermining investor confidence. Yet despite all this, it still said that the UK is the sixth most attractive spot for renewables, so we must be doing something right.
With consumers expecting ever cheaper food and the worst crop yields for decades, farmers are diversifying into wind and solar to top up their incomes. A report released this week said some installations are generating upwards of £50,000 a year. Meanwhile, Co-operative Energy has signed a deal that allows customers to own a share in their local energy generation. Energy democratisation – it’s the next big thing.
Worldwide the headlines looked something like this:
- The US Navy has ambitious goals to decrease reliance on foreign oil and increase use of alternative energy.
- In Australia 180 MW coal plant to be turned into 30 MW solar thermal and 20 MW solar farm.
- Solar capacity in India is on the up and up.
- Ecotricity breezes into Northern Ireland with 4.6MW wind park.
- All new January US generating capacity came from renewables.