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Virgin Money’s ethical ISA invests in weapons and oil

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by David Masters
Virgin Money's ethical ISA invests in weapons and oil

Investors opening a Virgin Money Climate Change ISA might expect their money to be invested in firms carefully screened for their ethical credentials.

In truth, however, their savings could be invested in arms manufacturers, mining firms, tobacco companies, and oil giants.

This shocking discovery was made by ethical business blogger Toby Webb.

“I had expected the fund to be investing in clean tech firms,” Webb writes.

“Exciting new technology companies set to capitalise on the next green revolution.”

However, on investigating the small print of his Virgin Money Climate Change ISA, he found a “worrying” clause.

“Some ‘green’ funds fail to give decent returns because they exclude lucrative sectors like oil and gas,” Virgin Money says.

“This approach excludes some of the companies with the highest growth potential.

“No industry exclusion filters means we include all industries – so you don’t miss out on lucrative sectors like oil, gas, electricity and transportation.”

Virgin Money justifies this approach by claiming to filter out companies with worse than average environmental credentials.

In reality, this means a “green” firm for Virgin can be one that does as little as “encouraging recycling in their workplaces”.

Webb’s conclusion after discovering this? Ethical investors should steer well clear of Virgin Money.

“The investment managers at places like Virgin Money who ought to be ashamed of themselves,” he writes.

“Without really realising it, they are setting back progress in tackling climate change through new technologies, and mis-selling products at the same time.

“Do we want to do business with companies who do this? I don’t think I do.”

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News posted: October 17, 2009

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3 Comments

  1. That’s really bad. Thanks for the article which I picked up in my RSS reader. I’m going to change my cash!

    Comment by Anon (for fraud reasons) — October 17, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  2. Oi, how did you import my profile picture, very poor show!!! I won’t be using your website to post on again!!!!!

    Comment by Anon (for fraud reasons) — October 17, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  3. What are you talking about you daft lad, Anon? It means you have a WordPress account that you use, that posts your profile pic automatically, because of a cookie installed on your PC by wordpress.com.

    Comment by Brian Turner — October 21, 2009 @ 11:09 am

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