Carbon Footprint Cost of Investment

Published / Last Updated on 14/05/2017

Ethical Investment - Cost on the Environment Explained

Save The Trees With Online Financial Advice

Did you know that taking online financial advice from us could save the equivalent of 24 trees each?

Changing how you obtain financial advice could save literally thousand of pounds in both money and environmental costs and save trees.  

By dealing with us online and by email you will not only save thousands of pounds in reduced policy charges and reduced commissions and fees, you will also save hundreds of pounds each year in reduced carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e) and yet still ensure you are advised by a highly qualified adviser wherever you or they may be and also save the trees.

Impact of meeting your financial adviser

We have calculated the impact on the environment for a client dealing by normal face to face meetings and post at a cost of 175 lbs CO2e each year.  

Pounds off the environment

We can talk to you as normal by telephone or via the web and issue quotations, letters and reports online.  The environmental saving, after deducting emissions for say two hours computer time use per month at only 4lbs CO2e per year, is a net reduction in your carbon footprint of 171 lbs CO2e per year.

Save the trees

Over a longer term relationship with us, for example planning to retirement or over the lifetime of your mortgage, that is the equivalent to 24 trees saved, or just over one tree per year saved in paper and power.

Carbon offset instead?

Alternatively, to offset your carbon footprint, you would each need to plant 10-15 trees to absorb the CO2e in dealing with our finances face to face.

Pounds in your pocket 

We also reflect reductions in cost of delivering financial advice by offering huge commission discounts of up to 100% on the products that we advise on.

We believe people prefer to pay us to be at our desks working full time for our clients rather than paying us to sit in a traffic jam trying to get to you.  

Free Time and No Sales Pitch

By seeing an adviser at home or in the office it also uses up your valuable free time.  This is reduced significantly online by having reports, research and recommendations arrive in your email when you want them.  You will also avoid the ‘salesman’ trying his best to ‘close the sale’.  

Experts on Hand 24/7

In addition, you have the security and peace of mind to know that you are being advised by award winning financial planning experts rather than the local bank or insurance salesman.

How did we calculate CO2e:

Paper: 24 trees = 1 ton of paper = 400 Reams of paper = 200,000 sheets = 2,500 KWh = 3375 lbs CO2e (enough to power a 3 bedroomed home for a year) Source: Biernam CJ (1993) - Essentials of Pulp and Papermaking

Travel: 1,000 Miles a year generates for an average medium sized diesel car = 0.30 tonnes of CO2e = 661 lbs CO2e.

Postal Deliveries: 495,567 tonnes CO2 based upon 30.66bn items delivered = 16g CO2e per item plus office costs = 26g CO2e per item.  Source Royal Mail 2005/2006 emissions figures.

Computer Power: 1 computer permanently on 24 hours a day = 1,500 lbs CO2e per year.  1 hour = 0.17 lbs CO2e.  2 hours use a month = 4 lbs CO2e per year.  Source:

Absorbtion of CO2e: Average tree absorbs between 3-15 lbs CO2e per year.  Source:

Average Client File Generates Per Year:

  • 500 sheets of paper a year = 8.5 lbs CO2e.  Source: Need An Adviser.
  • 20 letters posted each year = 1.2 lbs CO2e.  Source: Need An Adviser

Average ‘On the Road’ Financial Adviser:

  • 20,000 miles a year = 80 clients = 250 miles per year per client (allows for all meetings and journeys in connection with a client e.g.  clients, provider, lenders, seminars etc) = 165 lbs CO2e per client.  Source: Need An Adviser.

Total CO2e Cost Per client: 175 lbs CO2e per year.  Other allowances for adviser office costs ignored as office will still be open and used whether see client face to face or remotely.

2.Lower Carbon Footprint

Reduce your carbon footprint with award winning, non-travel, non-face to face independent financial advice.

Think before you print - use less paper, use less energy and lower your carbon footprint.

We offer paperless advice, research and reports in your email box in minutes, not in weeks.  We can post as well if you wish.

Getting advice is easy: 




Our approach to your advice:

No travel:  Quite simply, we do not see the need to drive to you or for you to drive to us to get good advice.  Of course, we do travel when you need us to.

A sharp suit and a large, expensive car does not necessarily mean high quality financial advice.  Having more time to work for you instead of sitting behind a wheel does.

Our local approach:  Green and mean?  No, we are just conscious of our own carbon footprint.

  • Local recruitment:  We recruit locally.  Every single member of staff at Need An Adviser, including the directors, lives within 1.5 miles of the office.  A number of our staff walk or cycle to work.  We avoid long commute journeys where possible. 
  • Recycle:  We recycle huge amounts of paper every day, of course with the exception of important documents.  We recycle all printer cartridges.  We limit our letter sizes and weight to a minimum to reduce postal carriage.
  • Online Reports:  All our reports, research, documents are issued online, they are posted only if clients request them to me.
  • Standby:  Not one computer is left on standby overnight.  All are turned off.  Employees also job share on computers so that two are not on when only one is needed.
  • A Tree A Year: For every client, we have calculated that we now save the equivalent of one tree a year in reduced paper and power take a look a Saving the Trees
  • Heating:  We 'force' our staff to wear Need An Adviser gillets and fleeces.  Joking aside, the law dictates the minimum temperature of the office, but it is rare that the upper floors of our offices need any heating on. Our loft space is also lagged and boarded.
  • Signs:  All lightbox signage is turned off at night.  We do not leave them on like many premises.
  • Water supply:  Our water is metered and consumption is extremely low.  We have low volume consumption flush toilets.  Water heating is only on for half an hour each day.

Lower carbon footprint advice could help you get the best and advice, and help the environment with less deadly emissions.

3. Screening - Investment Selection Advice

Dark Green Screening

Screening is probably the best known of selection criteria by investors.  It is where fund managers will have a list of specific activities that they will screen and include or exclude.  These are generally known as Dark Green Funds

Other, Light Green Funds tend to use 'best of breed', preference techniques.  for example, if the fund manager has to invest in oil, he will select the most 'green' of the bunch. 

Exclusion: This is where fund managers have a list of specific activities they exclude for investment purposes, for example:

  • Tobacco
  • Arms
  • Fur Trade
  • Alcohol
  • Pornography
  • Nuclear
  • Regimes with human rights issues
  • Animal testing
  • Genetic food
  • Unsustainable timber
  • Chemicals
  • Pollution

Positive Inclusion: Fund managers may positively discriminate for contributions to society and the environment, for example:

  • Energy efficiency technology
  • Organic farming
  • Local resources use

These lists are by no means complete and different fund managers will have their own screening investment definitions. 

So how green is your fund manager themselves?

Just because the fund manager offers a 'green' fund, it does not mean that the management of the fund is green.  What is the CO2e (carbon emission footprint) of the fund manager?

4.  Carbon Emissions

The debate on ethical investing can become even more confused when you look at the actual carbon dioxide emissions CO2e of many of the leading so called 'ethical' funds.

A report conducted by Trucost, highlights the differences:  Carbon Counts: The Carbon Footprint Ranking of UK Investment Funds

The report ranked the carbon intensity of 185 UK investment funds, the largest ever ranking of funds on this basis, and revealed the best and worst performing funds in terms of their Carbon Footprint.  The funds were analysed across four categories: Socially responsible investment approach, growth returns, availability of income and tracker options.  

Key findings:

  • The Carbon Footprint of the funds analysed varies dramatically: the worst fund has a footprint almost ten times as large as the best fund.
  • 37% of funds are exposed to greater potential carbon liabilities than the FTSE All-Share index.
  • The impact of moving a £7,000 investment from the least carbon efficient fund to the most carbon efficient fund is 10 tonnes per annum.  The average UK household emits 10 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The results:

The best performing funds overall were the SRI funds Prudential Ethical Trust, followed by AXA Ethical Acc and Sovereign Ethical.  Half of the ten most carbon-efficient funds were SRI funds and half were growth funds.

Source: Trucost.

For help and advice on doing your part for the enviroment and investing at the same time speak to us today.


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