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Wednesday 03rd of February 2010
November 30, 2009    

Ethical investment has 200 year history

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by David Masters
Ethical investment has 200 year history

John Wesley, the 18th century founder of the Methodist Church, was one of the first people to champion ethical investments, it has been revealed.

Wesley’s investment motto, which he declared in a sermon more than 200 years ago, was to ” Gain all we can without hurting our neighbour.”

Wesley urged investors to avoid putting money into businesses such as tanning and chemical production, which can harm the health of workers.

“We ought not to gain money at the expense of life, nor at the expense of our health,” Wesley said.

Other early champions of ethical investment included the Religious Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers.

In 1758, the Philadelphia Quakers passed a motion banning members from buying or selling slaves.

Eighteenth century investors with a conscience were urged to avoid sinful companies, such as those associated with alcohol, guns, and tobacco.

From these humble beginnings, ethical investment has grown to become institutionalised in banks such as the Co-operative and Triodos.

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Tags: alcohol, , guns, John Wesley, Methodist Church, Quakers, tobacco