Blog with John Fleetwood – July 2018


Are ethical funds really ethical?

Agro chemical company, Monsanto, has once again hit the news for all the wrong reasons, being the subject of a lawsuit on its Roundup product. This is just the latest controversy of a series to hit the company dating back many decades. It is therefore somewhat surprising that the company features or has featured in several ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’ funds. The justification has been that Monsanto’s products increase agricultural productivity and is, therefore, a positive influence.  3D Investing strongly disagree given the company’s long record of legal battles. This all undermines the importance of looking carefully at what funds do, rather than relying on what they say.

Too many funds are making statements claiming they are ethical or sustainable for marketing purposes, when in fact they are not, in what has been described as “greenwashing”

At Positive Pennine, our rigorous investment process means we look under the bonnet of the funds within our portfolios and how they are working towards the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

To do this, we use John Fleetwood from 3D Investing, who has been researching positive investing for over 25 years.  John measures a number of factors to assess the quality of a fund or a portfolio of funds.   This is reflected in an overall rating – the 3D Star Rating. John’s scoring system is being used by many UK based investment houses, and it may well become the recognised UK wide measuring system.

In 2017 John was awarded the Sustainable Investment award for innovation, research & methodology by Investment Week for his work in this area. John provides the research to enable the Positive Pennine Portfolios to be created and continually developed.