THE Forest Council has approved plans to only make investments that are aligned with its social and environmental goals, and avoid ones deemed “unethical”.

The new Ethical Investment Policy means the council will avoid any and all investment in areas such as fossil fuels, oppressive regimes and factory farming of animals in the future.

The move was approved by councillors at a meeting last Thursday (December 14).

Councillor Andy Moore, Cabinet Member for finance and investments, said: “As a Council, we are committed to acting in a way that is conscious of some of the biggest challenges facing the Forest of Dean and the planet as a whole.

"Therefore, I am thrilled to see this new policy being approved by the Council as it’s so important to align our financial decisions with our social and ecological commitments.

“By ensuring that our investments mirror our social and environmental goals, we’re taking a proactive step towards building a sustainable and responsible future for the Forest of Dean. 

“This policy reflects our dedication to both fiscal responsibility and the well-being of our community and the planet.”

The council says investments are an important part of its finances and help to bring in money to fund local services. 

Currently its investments must prioritise “security, liquidity and yield” to maximise financial returns for the taxpayer, the council says. 

Following its approval, the new ethical investment policy will become the fourth consideration in the decision-making process. 

Avoiding investments it deems “unethical”, the council says it will actively seek to invest directly in organisations or financial products with a core focus that aligns more with its goals, such as renewable energy, green investment products or social housing. 

A spokesperson added: “This policy ensures that any future Council investments will be aligned with the climate emergency declared in 2019 and that the Council embeds ethics when considering future investments. 

“Any decisions to change existing investments to bring them in line with the policy will be taken at Full Council.

“All investments are risk-assessed to ensure the Council does not jeopardise its financial position.”