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June 14, 2010    

Should ethical funds invest in BP?

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by David Masters
Should ethical funds invest in BP?

At least ten self-proclaimed “ethical” funds hold shares in BP despite the oil producer’s pivotal role in the worst oil spill in history.

The ethical investment funds holding BP in their portfolio include SWIP Pan-European SRI Equity, SWIP Global SRI, Real Life A, Church of England Investment, COIF Charities Investment, Aberdeen Responsible UK Equity, Marlborough Ethical, CBF Church of England UK Equity, and Marks & Spencers Ethical Fund.

These funds, known as “light green” funds, invest in companies traditionally seen as unethical as long as the company is seen as more conscientious than its rivals.

This is compared to “dark green” funds, such as Aegon Ethical Equity and the F&C Stewardship fund, which do not invest in any unethical company, such as tobacco, weapons and oil producers.

Lee Coates of specialist financial advisers Ethical Investors said only “dark green” funds should be allowed to call themselves ethical.

“It takes a higher calibre of manager to manage a truly ethical fund,” he said.

Coates added that dark green funds have proved most resilient through the recession.

“While other funds have been hit hard by falling markets, pure ethical funds have powered ahead,” he said.

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