Wigan finance business going green

A Wigan finance business is going green by forming a new service helping people put their money where their mouth is when it comes to helping the environment.

Sunday, 18th August 2019, 12:07 pm
Mark Armstrong

BlueSphere Wealth, based in Standish, launched in May and finds portfolios for individuals money which only include companies committed to sustainability or reducing their impact on the planet.

Mark Armstrong, who also runs family firm Armstrong Private Wealth, set up BlueSphere due to his own passion for the environment and the increased public awareness of the harm being done to Earth.

That, he says, means people no longer want to invest in very damaging industries such as fossil fuels even if they are still profitable.

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To ensure their money is placed in businesses which line up with their views, BlueSphere instead ploughs cash into packages linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Armstrong said: “It’s called impacting investing and it’s about focusing on companies that create measurable positive impacts on the planet alongside generating a financial return.

“People are looking a bit more at where they invest, they want to align their money with their values and beliefs.

“They don’t want to invest in companies that create harm, like oil, tobacco or armaments. We remove those companies and instead have ones in things like solar energy, sustainability or circular economies.”

The environment is currently a major topic and Wigan Council has become one of many town halls to declare a climate emergency.

Mr Armstrong says the demand for BlueSphere Wealth’s services suggests the messages of activists and environmental groups are getting through.

He said: “The response has been fantastic. Since we started in May we’ve invested more than £3m of new money. We’re having really good conversations with clients. It is fantastic that Wigan Council has made its mark and programmes like Blue Planet have raised a lot of awareness too.

People now know they want to do something to help but aren’t sure what.

“Data shows that aligning pensions and savings with sustainability can be more effective than taking fewer flights or eating less meat because you can deploy far more money. Those companies can then make a huge difference.

“It’s also a way of doing something quietly, rather than having to be an activist.”