Can ESG investing really change the world?

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Investor Harri asks if it is possible to do good — and make a decent return

Claer Barrett chats to Harri about the challenges of building an ethical investment portfolio. The 29-year old is saving £1,000 a month into his retirement fund, and has noticed a growing array of ESG options (a label applied to investments that address environment, social and governance considerations). Are they genuinely doing good — or have they just done a good job on their marketing? And does investing ethically mean he has to sacrifice some investment returns? Experts Gillian Tett and Moira O’Neill offer their tips.

If you would like to talk to Claer for a future episode, please email the Money Clinic team at money@ft.com with a short description of your dilemma, and how you would like us to help. Follow Claer on Twitter and Instagram @Claerb and read her weekly Serious Money column in the FT Money section of the FT Weekend newspaper.

Further reading:

Gillian Tett chairs the FT’s editorial board, and set up Moral Money, the FT’s online hub for all things ESG. Read the latest stories and sign up for the twice-weekly newsletter at FT.com/moralmoney (the newsletter is currently free for the first 30 days). You can follow Gillian on Twitter: @GillianTett.

–Moira O’Neill is an investment columnist in FT Money, and the head of personal finance at Interactive Investor. Read Moira’s latest column about why it’s a myth that only the “young and woke” are interested in ESG investment at ft.com/goodmoneyweekYou can follow Moira on Twitter: @MoiraONeill.

–The dilemmas of ESG investors are explored in a forthcoming book by Alice Ross, the FT’s deputy news editor. You can read an extract from Investing to Save the Planet via this link ft.com/investingtosavetheplanetand it will be published by Penguin Books in November 2020.


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