Profit and social contribution should no longer be seen as mutually exclusive - Alison Norfolk

December 03, 2019 - 12:00pm

Profit and social contribution should no longer be seen as mutually exclusive - Alison Norfolk


It is impossible to ignore the distressing documentaries and regular news stories showing climate
breakdown, plastic pollution, social inequalities and dangerous working practices. I’m sure you'll agree
that we need to make changes now to create a better world for current and future generations. As a
vehicle for making these changes, sustainable solutions have understandably become a major focus
both politically and in business.

Indeed, our day-to-day consumption patterns are already reflecting a change for the better, from the
proliferation of reusable mugs and bags for life to sustainable fashion and recyclable packaging. When
we need to buy, we're increasingly trying to buy responsibly and it is natural therefore that we would
want to extend this to our investment portfolios too.

As well as helping you to make money, your investments can contribute less to the bad and more to
the good of society. We all have the potential to make a profit out of investing in themes such as
renewable energy, healthcare and social housing, amongst others. Indeed, there are obvious
parallels between prudent corporate behaviour and sustainable principles, and a growing body of
evidence suggests that sustainable business practices can create a range of benefits, including
improved profitability.

This ethos has been taken even further by a new breed of altruistic impact investor who is looking to
make a positive societal impact first, with financial factors a secondary consideration. These
investors are helping to support a new wave of businesses and entrepreneurs for whom impact is
also the primary concern.

The launch of green bonds, mortgages and funds across the UK reflects this growing interest in
socially responsible investing. The Department for International Development’s latest survey
1 on the
subject showed more than two-thirds of respondents wanted their investments to consider the
impact on people and the planet, as well as financial performance.

If the appetite for sustainable investing continues to grow, we are likely to see increasing
opportunities to invest in this way, dispelling the myth that doing good and making money are
mutually exclusive.

Alison Norfolk, Branch Manager Handelsbanken Lancaster