As an ethically-minded consumer, it’s that time of year that you dread. You have a list of family and loved ones to buy presents for and not nearly enough time to carefully select a gift with meaning for each.
So, the urge to panic buy takes over, and come Christmas day we give (and receive) some gifts that achieve little other than boosting the profits of big retailers, whilst also depleting the planet’s finite and diminishing resources, not to mention the carbon emissions that arise from production and distribution.
In fact, research says that 32%* of people receive at least one unwanted present every year with an average value of £155. That amounts to around £2.6 billion spent unnecessarily every Christmas.
An alternative to a physical gift is a gift-investment. Choosing an ethical investment as a gift will not only deliver the potential of future financial return, but the knowledge that you’re giving a business the opportunity to do good.
According to research, the majority of unwanted gifts are received by younger people with almost half of those aged 18-34 received unwanted gifts, on average two each, with an estimated value of £279. And 42% of this group, if given money for Christmas, would consider investing it ethically*.
An ethical investment on behalf of a young relative or friend, not only gives them the opportunity of a financial return in the future, but, importantly teaches them about the benefits of ethical investing and allows them to learn about the social and environmental impact of money.
If you fancy making an investment that creates an impact overseas then consider Energise Africa. Starting at just £50 your investment could help to deliver a gift that is truly life-changing.
These bonds help pioneering businesses install solar systems in rural Africa, bringing the gift of light and energy to families there that otherwise may not be able to afford it. And with potential returns of up to 6% pa**, the impacts are double and you can view all the latest projects at LendaHand.
Alternatively, if you would prefer something located in the UK then take a look at the Ethex online platform, you can choose from a range of savings and investment products that have a real impact as well as the potential of financial return.
Our latest offers include:
Up to 36,000 premature deaths in the UK each year are linked to air pollution. Our cities are becoming dangerous places to breathe with traffic pollution one of the main contributors.The UK has set targets of banning all new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, but a recent report found that most UK cities are behind on implementing the infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Electric Blue install and maintain Electric Vehicle chargers and are currently raising investment for a pioneering project to improve air quality in Cambridge.
They plan to install 18 rapid chargers (that provide a charge in just 30 minutes) for a fleet of electric taxis, taking the city one step closer to cleaner air and a more sustainable public transport structure.
You can invest in the Electric Blue bond offer through our IF ISA, targeting tax-free returns of 5 - 7%, while helping the people of Cambridge to breathe easier.
Shocking statistics on the number of homeless people in the UK emerged recently, with Charity Shelter stating that at least 320,000 people in the UK are without a permanent home. While the Government is looking at options to cut the number of people rough sleeping, thousands of families end up in temporary accommodation because they simply cannot afford to pay for homes.
The housing crisis shows no sign of abating, and affordable housing is an issue that needs to be addressed in and around every UK city.
Community Land Trusts (CLTs) aim to help tackle the issue by purchasing land for the community, where they can ensure fair and reasonable rents and house prices.
One of the many CLTs around the UK is Somerset Co-Operative Community Land Trust, whose long-term goal is to create affordable housing across Somerset, and inspire other community land trusts across the UK to use the SCCLT model.
Their current share offer aims to raise £350,000 to buy a second property in Taunton that will provide affordable housing as well as land for development into flats and an urban farming project. The share offer projects returns of 4.5% and you can find out more here.
If you still prefer to give a gift this year, then why not choose an ethical gift? You can still make your loved ones smile without adding to the pile of wasted toys or unspent gift vouchers. There are plenty of options for gifts that have a positive impact, but are not just gifted charitable donations.
For example, Divine Chocolate offers a mouth-watering range of fair trade chocolate gifts, from stocking fillers to hampers, that will delight any chocolate lover as well as benefit cocoa farmers in Ghana.
For coffee lovers, Café Direct offer a range of gift plans that explore the global taste of coffee as well as ensuring a fair income for the coffee farmers. And for women who would like to dress in protest, Birdsong designs and sells original wardbrobe staples that are ethical, sustainable and made by talented women paid a fair wage.
So, if you have managed to resist the urge to blow your Christmas budget on Black Friday deals, consider one of these unique and ethical alternatives to give a gift that truly does keep giving.
**Capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed
You can browse, compare and invest in a range of products on Ethex platform from bank accounts and ISAs to equity investments and charity bonds that offer a social/environmental as well as a financial return. All you need to do is get started...
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