Ethical Property is a publicly owned English real estate investment company; it sells shares that are traded on the stock exchange, like real estate investment trust stocks here. However, as its website says, it supports "innovative and progressive organisations working for social change by providing tenants with affordable office and work space, and fair and transparent property management." They develop centers by buying and restoring clusters of buildings that are "focal points for social change allowing organisations and individuals the chance share information, ideas and debate." They also run events, workshops, socials and seminars designed to help the work of their tenants in these centers, offer flexible tenancy terms and flexible office space, and manage them to minimise energy use, waste, car travel and harmful materials.
Their website gives a brief history of the company:
In 1982, Andrew King bought 82 Colston Street in order to house some of the many co-operatives springing up across Bristol. The first tenants were the Soil Association, now the country’s leading campaign organisation for organic food and farming and sustainable forestry, and Saferworld, the research and campaign group on armaments, now well-established in Central London.
Andrew wanted to offer his tenants reasonable rents, a benign and supportive landlord, a secure and welcoming place from which to work and the chance to share premises and resources with a range of like-minded organisations. By doing this he was to gain from a secure investment that produced a financial return as well as generating a strong social benefit.
Andrew went on to buy a further three buildings in Colston Street. The wide variety of tenants supported by his investment has made Colston Street well-known for its unique and colourful character. Jamie Hartzell began working with Andrew when they together bought 84 Colston Street in 1986. Jamie bought 1A Waterlow Road, North London in 1994. Here began in one small room the Islington Zairean Refugee Group, the alternative news video Undercurrents, now well-established in Swansea, and Squall, the newspaper of the homelessness movement.
In 1996, with the help of Triodos Bank, the Archway premises were expanded and now house 12 campaign groups or charities working on environment, development, refugee, human rights and alternative finance issues. In 1998, after several years of research and development, Andrew and Jamie decided to form The Ethical Property Company PLC and the London and Bristol properties were transferred into the Company.
With the help of Triodos Bank and Malcolm Lynch Solicitors, a share issue was launched in May 1999. This closed in December 1999, having raised £1.72 million. The company invested these funds in setting up seven new centres in Bristol, London, Leeds and Oxford.
They now own centers in England, Scotland and Belgium and "are in the process of developing ways in which [they] can encourage ethical investment and set up centres in other parts of the UK and internationally. In the long-term [they] aim to build a network of centres around the world in support of the social change movement."