Cruelty Free Money

Keep your money cruelty free..

What is Cruelty Free Money


Whilst most people are familiar with the concept of cruelty free cosmetics and products, the majority of people are probably not so familiar with the idea of Cruelty Free money. Put simply, almost any financial product that you buy or invest in could be linked to the exploitation or mistreatment of animals, people and our planet.

Ethical Investment is a growing phenomenon across all investment markets around the world and Cruelty Free Money is an extension of this.  Ethics are highly subjective and there are ethical investment options which can meet the needs of all investors, whatever their values.  However, this has not always been the case; in the early days of ethical investment most of the emphasis was on avoiding the core ‘moral values’ issues such as armaments, alcohol, tobacco, human rights abuse etc.  These values commonly evolved out of faith-based concerns and were, logically, reflections of the values of the religious groups who promoted them.  In the UK the first ethical fund, Stewardship, was launched in 1984 and reflected the original Quaker values of the fund’s promoter, Friends provident.

The first example of Cruelty Free money arose in the UK in the early 1990s. Lee Coates, Director of financial planning firm Ethical Investors, observed that ethical funds at that time were almost exclusively focussed on ‘human’ and ‘moral’ issues, with some funds covering a narrow range of environmental issues as well.

The ‘Three Pillars of Ethical Investment’

Lee developed his “three pillar” approach to ethical investment, which he named Cruelty Free Money. The three pillars of Cruelty Free money are Animals – People – Planet. The critical component for a genuinely cruelty free investment strategy is the inclusion of criteria to exclude companies whose activities exploit animals. The “three pillars” carry equal importance and elevate the concept of cruelty free money beyond the more limited “two pillar” approach (people and the planet) adopted by the majority of ethical investment strategies.

Over a two year period Lee’s three-pillar approach was refined, working with animal welfare groups, until three of the then largest UK ethical fund providers adopted his ‘Cruelty Free’ investment strategy.  All three investment companies simply amended their existing ethical values, extending them into a comprehensive set of criteria to ensure that animal exploitation in all forms were prioritised alongside the other values covered within the funds.

Cruelty Free Money – the values:

Pillar 1 – People

• Companies trading with oppressive regimes in areas likely to have a negative impact on people (provision of weapons, torture equipment, crowd suppression equipment etc)

• Companies using child labour
• Companies using ‘sweat shop’ labour

• Manufacture of weapons

• Production of Alcohol and Tobacco

• Production of Pornography

• Nuclear Power

• Gambling

Pillar 2 – Planet

• Extractive industries (mining/oil etc), where activities are considered to be ‘lowest level of standards rather than highest)

• Companies significantly contributing to Climate Change

• High energy use industries (where there is no energy efficiency schemes in place)

• Producers of toxic ‘red list’ substances/chemicals

• Companies whose activities contribute to habit loss and have a negative impact on endangered species

Pillar 3- Animals

Animal Testing
• Cosmetics
• Household Products
• Pharmaceutical products

Animals and food
• Rearing and breeding of animals for food
• Abattoirs
• Live Transport
• Equipment, technology and machinery manufacturers specifically linked to intensive farming and transport
• Animal products
• Food processors where animal products are a principal activity
• Food retailers and animal-based catering companies
• Companies making significant use of animal by-products (gelatine/collagen/leather)
• Fish farming

Fur and animal skins
• Breeding and rearing animals for their fur/skin
• Trapping and other means of removing animals from the wild
• Retailing of fur/skin products where animals have been reared for this purpose

Animals in sport
• Operators of horse and dog racing facilities, breeders
• Fishing equipment and services
• Betting where this is linked to horse and dog racing
• Hunting equipment – traps/guns etc

Genetic modification
• Research and development of genetically engineered animals
• Use of genetically engineered animals – pharmaceutical/food/other products

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