Alternative investments are a hot topic. They came to the fore as a result of shifts in both technological and economic forces over the past decade – on the one hand, the virtual world provides increased opportunities for investors to learn about and tap into innovative forms of investment, and on the other, the global crash of 2008 provided the driver that made alternatives all the more attractive.
For those who wish to pursue ethical investment strategies, there are plenty of choices out there. Portfolio manager can offer tailor made ethical investment funds, in which the stocks and shares are cherry picked on the basis of their ethical principles. However, for those looking for something that does not necessarily track in line with the broader economy, the alternative investment world provides a range of choices too. Here are some examples of ecologically friendly alternative investments that can help you get a good return on your money while maintaining a clear conscience.
Money grows on trees
Property is one of the most common forms of alternative investment. However, a variation on the theme for those with strong ecological leanings is to instead invest in land that has not been built on. Forestry is one of the best performing sectors in the UK, and can make serious returns. The truth is a 700 acre forest in Scotland can be bought for the same price as an apartment in London.
Isn’t chopping down trees the worst thing an environmentalist can do, though? In fact, responsible harvesting of mature trees and replanting of new ones makes for a healthy forest and encourages biodiversity. And by investing in a forest, you can call the shots on how the trees will be managed.
Another possibility that might initially sound counter intuitive is investing in the classic car scene. Today, we are all about low emissions and hybrid power units, so you might wonder how investing in a 50 year old gas guzzler could possibly be seen as an ethical investment.The point here is that the emissions and energy used in making a new car vastly exceed the extra environmental impact of running an old one.
A classic car is also one of those lifestyle investments that gives back in more than just financial terms. For many, it is a dream hobby, and few things can compare with taking a drive on a weekend afternoon in the summer in a beautiful classic car. In this respect, even if the car does no better than hold its value, many see that as a winner.
The energy sector
On the face of it, investing in energy seems neither alternative nor ecologically sound. However, if you focus on those in the renewable sector, you will find they tick all the boxes. Their green credentials go without saying, but the really interesting thing is how these investments behave in comparison to the broader economy. While most conventional investments track broadly in line with the global oil price, the opposite is the case here, making renewable energy an alternative investment in every sense of the phrase.