A concept which is similar in nature, but not identical to, ethical investment, is that of sustainable investment. According to the Brundtland Report of 1987[1], the rationale for investing sustainably is to ‘meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’

At Holden & Partners, we interpret this as identifying investments which provide solutions to sustainability challenges, and therefore have the capacity to prosper in a competitive and changing global environment.

Businesses which anticipate future economic, environmental and social opportunities, and mitigate the potential risks by focusing on quality, innovation and productivity, possess a competitive advantage, giving them the ability to generate long term value for shareholders.

The crucial questions we must ask ourselves as sustainable investors are: Is the way we invest and what we invest in capable of being continued at its current levels?  Will it balance the needs of the planet we live on and the prosperity of its people?

The long term viability of a company’s business model and the way it addresses environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are decisive in determining its attractiveness as an investment. Sustainable companies typically integrate ESG analysis into their products, processes and practices, offering investors real long term performance advantages.

This analysis is often a prerequisite for investment funds utilising ‘positive screening’ criteria, whereby those companies which demonstrate a commitment to addressing ESG issues are favoured over those which pay scant regard to it. Sustainable funds will rarely incorporate the stringent negative criteria of ethical funds, but a bias to companies which take heed of the environmental and social challenges they face provides resilience, predictability and continuity in returns.

Another approach to investing sustainably is through positive engagement and activism, whereby investors exert their influence to make a positive change to a company’s behaviour. This approach does not necessarily exclude companies from an investment strategy, but instead encourages organisations to adopt good social and environmental practices through engagement with senior management or voting at annual general meetings. Investors have an important shared responsibility in holding businesses to account for their actions, and this is one way to ensure that companies have the interests of shareholders and stakeholders at heart.

[1] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/5987our-common-future.pdf

My wife and I really value the advice and support we’ve received over many years. Our key contact is Tim Cosway, whose friendly and calm manner is a real plus. He also involves team members who are equally committed. We particularly value that their approach is that no question is stupid – we always receive a clear and helpful explanation. We have full confidence in the team’s management of our finances and definitely recommend them.


We have consulted Holden and Partners for 10 years.  Having been in financial disarray because of poor advice from our previous financial advisor, we have Tim Cosway to thank for digging us out of a deep financial hole.  As a result of his painstaking tenacity pursuing a claim against our former financial advisor through the Financial Ombudsman Service, which resulted in substantial compensation, we can anticipate a comfortable retirement.  We continue to take Tim’s advice on all financial matters.  He is a pleasure to deal with, and we whole heartedly recommend Holden and Partners, and Tim in particular.

Mike & Jacque

I have been a customer of Holden & Partners since its inception. During this time, no matter what the state of the financial climate, I have always found that their advice has been balanced and fair. They have a good understanding of everyone’s individual circumstances and produced tailored strategies to match these needs and expectations.

Duncan B, NHS consultant

I’ve always received high quality, personable advice at a time of my convenience. My adviser has often travelled to my home in order to provide very personal service. The advice given is clear and unambiguous. The risks of different types of investment have been clearly discussed to allow me to make an appropriate decision on the nature of my investment portfolio. This has been of great importance when considering the available investment options for my forthcoming retirement. I have always considered that Holden & Partners is very client centred and they have my best interests at heart. I have been with Holden & Partners since 1996 and have recommended them to friends and colleagues on many occasions.

Michael, Surgeon

Holden & Partners manage our company pension scheme with a totally professional and dedicated approach. They have worked with us over a number of years, and are able to explain the potential ‘minefield’ that is pensions, to make it perfectly accessible for the staff.

Jeremy, Print Management Partner

On retirement after 40 years of salaried employment, I interviewed several financial advisers, amongst whom Mark Dodd of Holden & Partners was the nicest and seemingly the most understanding of my investment needs and priorities. Since then my wife and I have had regular (c.6-monthly) meetings with him in order to check and, when necessary, adjust the holdings in our portfolio. This has been very helpful and provided a comforting sense of confidence and security. I have recommended Holden & Partners to others and will certainly continue to do so.

Patrick, retired university professor

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of global trends such as climate change and environmental destruction. But I feel I regain power as a consumer and a citizen by thinking about where I spend my money and to whom I entrust my savings. I chose Holden and Partners because they were recommended to me and because of their strong track record in ethical investments. It has proven to be a wise choice. Their advisors listened carefully to my needs and created an investment strategy and portfolio that has met and indeed continues to exceed my expectations. The culture of a company also matters to me, I have found their advisors to be well informed and financially shrewd but also easy to speak to and engage with. Many of us find it difficult to trust institutions and organisations these days, but I do trust Holden and Partners to make the right decisions on my behalf.
I would have no hesitation in recommending them to others.

Patrick, Advertising and Marketing Consultant

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