Support for ethical giving

More than one in three people prefer to give
to charities that invest ethically, according to figures released
last week by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

Research commissioned by CAF, which provides
investment services for the charity sector, revealed that more than
40 per cent of people questioned preferred to donate to charities
that had social or ethical investment policies. Nearly 15 per cent
said they would only support charities that invested ethically.

One in three people questioned believed
charities, above all other organisations, should be ethically sound
in their financial holdings.

A spokesperson for Henderson Global
Investments, which runs an ethical fund on behalf of CAF, said: “As
consumers are increasingly prepared to vote with their feet,
companies able to demonstrate a record of social responsibility are
better positioned to thrive in the future. Charities investing in
these companies will be able to share in that success.”

Charity investment law states that funds must
be invested in order to maximise return. But investment in certain
companies can be avoided if doing so directly contradicts the aims
of the charity. Organisations are legally obliged to state their
attitude to ethical investment.

Barnardo’s agreed an ethical investment policy
in May 1999 which states it will “not hold investments in companies
whose activities are considered to be to the detriment of
children”. The charity will not invest in arms manufacturers,
pornographers and manufacturers that use child labour.

Prison reform charity Nacro invests upwards of
£1 million through the CAF’s ethical fund.

The Royal National Institute for the Blind
does not have an ethical policy, and a spokesperson for mental
health charity Mencap said: “When issues relating to disability
arise with companies in whom we have direct investment holdings we
consider our approach, which may be to dispose of the holding or to
approach the company about the issue.”

Help the Aged is currently reviewing its
policy on investment. “It is important to have a proper framework
for a policy,” a spokesperson said.

– The NSPCC, Barnardo’s and Help the Aged were
among the top 10 charities named when researchers asked the public
to name the charity they first think of. The April research was
carried out by think tank Future Foundations, who questioned 1,050
members of the public from across the UK.

Development charity Oxfam topped the list and
NSPCC came second. Barnardo’s was fourth and Help the Aged was the
fifth most named charity.

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