Archie Pearson (AP) from Oikocredit UK interviews Anthony Roper (AR), a member of Green Christian UK and recent Oikocredit investor.
Archie Pearson, Client Executive Oikocredit UK & Ireland
Antony Roper, Oikocredit Investor
AP: How long have you been an Oikocredit investor and how did you hear about us?
AR: Since the end of 2017. I saw various adverts in magazines I read but eventually I met a representative of Oikocredit in the UK and read your literature.
AP: What is it that most attracted you as an investor in Oikocredit (e.g. Microfinance, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, gender equality, fair trade, co-operatives, ecumenical values, longevity in the market)?
AR: It was your work with developing countries, particularly in the areas of agriculture and renewable energy, but also fair trade. For me it satisfied many criteria.
AP: How did you find out about social investing and do you think more needs to be done to educate people about investing for good?
AR: Social investing seems to me a good thing and I would perhaps place the emphasis on targeting (in the first instance) people who really care the most.
AP: How can the general public get more involved in social investing?
AR: People need to have the desire to help others with their money.
AP: Do you think social investing should be encouraged by more financial advisors?
AR: Surely this is the way we can help provide a better standard of life for people instead of just giving investments to big business.
AP: In 1975 Oikocredit was initiated by the World Council of Churches because of many of the problems that the world is still facing today. What role do you see social investing and faith-based groups playing in helping to solve some of these challenges?
AR: The faith-based groups are getting better at looking to support people who are less well- off and helping them in various ways.
AP: How important the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals to you and should more firms/governments be talking about them? For example, the effects of climate change will not be shared out equally and will harm the world’s poorest, most financially excluded groups, many of whom are smallholder farmers. Should more investments be turning their hand to focusing on issues that will alleviate these people from poverty?
AR: The development goals are really important to me. For instance, it’s well known that those who have contributed less to the factors that have caused climate change are suffering the effects of it most. We need to give small scale farmers all the help we can, or agri-chemical companies will seek to move in and control the situation.
AP: How important are financial returns in comparison to social and environmental gains?
AR: I’d say they are of equal importance, given the challenges we face in the world today.
AP: Should profit maximisation be the primary driving factor in social investing?
AR: Not particularly, but profitability is an integral part of the equation.
AP: What is your attitude to risk? It is argued that social investing is more risky than traditional investment, would you agree?
AR: Many things hold risks, I don’t know if it is riskier than anything else.
AP: Alongside the annual report, Oikocredit produces a Social & Environmental report which looks at the social performance of our partners and the outcomes of their clients. How important are these measurements to you?
AR: It’s important to be brought up to date with progress of how our investments impact the field, particularly the ‘real life’ stories of those who benefit.
Established in 1975, international social investor and co-operative Oikocredit, invests in more than 800 social enterprise partners across Africa, Asia, Latin America and central and eastern Europe. Oikocredit prioritises inclusive finance, agriculture and renewable energy sectors to empower the most disadvantaged communities in the world. Oikocredit’s mission and social performance measurements align with many of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (www.oikocredit.uk.org).
Oikocredit UK & Ireland is a member of Green Christian.