Living sustainably is central to every aspect of Jo Zaremba’s life
For over 30 years she has worked in a range of humanitarian, development and environmental roles across the globe, for the private sector, the UN, and NGOs including Oxfam, Save the Children, Earthwatch and ActionAid. Now based in Oxford, she runs her own consultancy, BlueLemur, has a love of cycling and the outdoors, and is passionate about environmental conservation.
A few years ago, Jo realised that one area she needed to look at was her savings and investments. She says:
I had some savings with my bank, but I really felt that the funds needed to be better placed. I wanted to do something positive and not just buy into any old scheme so I researched heavily and spent several years trying to find an organisation that could channel my savings in a meaningful way.
Jo wanted to actively contribute to sustainable sectors that need investment in order to grow, but found that many ethical funds only go so far in terms of achieving sustainability. For example, screening to avoid contributing to really environmentally harmful areas like fossil fuels or extraction but taking no more action than that. Just because an investment isn’t horribly bad, doesn’t make it good, she thought.
I wanted to know where my money is going, not just where it isn’t. I spent a long time looking, and found that some providers wouldn’t even entertain talking to me. I had almost given up hope of finding a solution when I came across Path in 2019.
They helped me to get a proper grip on my finances, and for the first time, a strategy for my investments. In terms of value, I feel that my savings and investments are going up at a decent rate and looking better than I thought they could. It makes sense to me that the sustainability sector will gradually increase in value, so it’s a sensible move.
One of the things I like about working with Path is that there is never any pressure at all. I get advice from them, but the decisions are ultimately mine and I’m very much in control of my investments.
Jo now wants to encourage others to consider using their savings and investments as a force for good.
Buying organically grown carrots or eco-friendly packaging might make you feel good, but these sorts of lifestyle choices are a drop in the ocean compared with where you put your savings and investments. The amount of money that’s invested through pensions is massive, and has the potential to truly make a difference.
If people are really serious about being sustainable, then they need to look at where their savings and investments are. Everything else – recycling, going vegan, etc – is a bit like window dressing in comparison. Even if you only have a small amount of money, it really does have an impact.
As always with investments, your capital is at risk. The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. This information should not be regarded as financial advice.