Ethex’s Positive Investment Report 2014 has named Bristol and Bath as hotspots of positive investing, ranking the cities second and third respectively.
The report describes positive investment as ‘…self-directed saving and investing by individuals who are taking control of their own finances and choosing to save and invest not only for a financial return but also to make money do good.’
The majority of the money is in credit unions and ethical banks, but charities, community share offers and ethical businesses represent £249 million of the £3.25 billion total invested positively this year, according to Ethex.
Bristol ranked second in the list of 15 hotspots, largely on the strength of the Gordano Solar Array: the share offer for the low-carbon energy source raised £2.2 million. This – along with eight other offers – raised a total of £5.6 million.
“I want to see Bristol’s wealth strengthening the local economy not disappearing off to some tax haven”
The launch of the Bristol Pound in 2013 also heralded the city’s ethical identity, creating a resurgent interest in local and independent businesses. Bristol Council have matched public interest in the currency; the Bristol Pound can be used to pay for council tax, and is the currency that mayor George Ferguson receives his salary in.
One of the currency’s founders Steve Clarke was quoted in the report, saying: “I grew up in Bristol and find it such an exciting place to live. As a city it has a strong identity and a fiercely independent spirit. Money plays a key role in that – I want to see Bristol’s wealth strengthening the local economy not disappearing off to some tax haven.”
Bath gets bronze
Bath managed to take third place in the report, raising £2.3 million with 4 share offers. In the same vein as Bristol, public shares offered for the Wilmington Farm Solar Array were a big factor in Bath’s positive investment success, raising £1.6 million.
Another big success story for the city this year was the investment of over £700,000 by over 536 customers to bring the Bell Inn into public ownership. Bath can also lay claim to Ethex’s youngest investor, 16-year-old James Brennan.
Co-founder and chair of Bath and West Community Energy Peter Capener was quoted saying: “By giving local people a stake in the outcome, community ownership will increase the roll out of onshore renewable energy. But it also gives us all a greater awareness of where our energy comes from and encourages us to consider how we use energy in our own lives.”