Cruelty Free Money

Keep your money cruelty free..

Here’s something I prepared earlier….

(Below is an extract of an interview which appeared in the Newsletter of Animal Liberation NSW in 2011)

LEE Coates, OBE, Director of Ethical Money Pty Ltd

Ethical Money’s founder, Lee Coates, is one of the UK’s most respected experts in ethical and socially responsible investment. Lee has lectured internationally on the subject of responsible investment, has created some of the world’s most innovative and interesting responsible investment products and is one of the world’s highest awarded financial planners.


Lee, readers may be wondering why Animal Liberation NSW would be interviewing a UK financial planner. Could you please explain how your work is connected with our own aims to stand up for animals?

It is very simple really; if one is campaigning for an end to animal exploitation, then what is the point of investing one’s money in those companies who are exploiting animals?  Benefiting from the activities of a company that one is campaigning against makes no sense at all.  Therefore, if one’s Superfund is invested in companies conducting or commissioning experiments on animals, involved in live exports or factory farming then one’s entire future and long term retirement will be based on the exploitation of animals.

It also gives a very mixed message to the companies which are exploiting animals – we don’t like what you are doing but we do like sharing in the profits you make.  As companies are legally bound to act in the interests of shareholders, if the shareholders are saying that everything the company does is fine, then the company will carry on with business as normal.  If people are unhappy with what a company does, they should disinvest and continue their campaigning.  It is possible to protest as a shareholder, but unless one gathers support from a majority of shareholders this route is not effective.  Better to disinvest and keep up the campaigning.

Having a background in finance, was there any particular incident that first led you to pursuing a more ethical path?

During the day I wore my suit to the office, studied for professional qualifications and in the evenings I campaigned for animal welfare, justice and environmental issues. Work and campaigning were separate because I had no idea the two could be linked – and I was in the investment industry!  I felt uneasy about the investment industry but couldn’t put my finger on what it was or how to solve it.

I changed jobs in 1987 and worked for a company which had an investment fund called ‘Stewardship’.  I was told it was an ethical fund for Quakers and it was like someone had switched on a very bright (but low energy) light bulb.  Suddenly I understood what my concerns were and how to deal with them – I would invest my money ethically.  Within 2 years I had set up a financial planning business which dealt exclusively with advising on ethical investment.  It is now 22 years old and we still only advise those who wish to invest ethically.

In the early 1990s I developed the idea of Cruelty Free Money to ensure that those who lead a cruelty free lifestyle can invest their money in line with their principles.  No one had looked at animal welfare issues in detail before so I thought it about time that these issues were moved up the ethical agenda and placed equally alongside human rights and environmental issues.  I developed what I called the “three pillars of ethical money”; animals, people and planet.


(more information on the work of Animal Liberation NSW can be found at


3 responses to “Here’s something I prepared earlier….”

  1. hehe great ! I like that post :)

  2. Wow! It’s awesome blog post here…. really very interesting for reading….. I enjoyed it. Thanks for the share…. just keep posting such an informative articles, I want to know more about this topic.

  3. One thing I have actually noticed is the fact there are plenty of beliefs regarding the financial institutions intentions when talking about property foreclosure. One fantasy in particular is the bank prefers to have your house. The financial institution wants your hard earned dollars, not your own home. They want the cash they loaned you having interest. Staying away from the bank will simply draw any foreclosed realization. Thanks for your publication.

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