New app tracks carbon impact of investments

Written by Lori Campbell on 9th Dec 2020

New app Sugi enables investors to track and compare the carbon footprint of their portfolio for the first time.

The free app, which is now in public testing stage, calculates the yearly carbon impact of individual investments as well as of a portfolio as a whole. Investors can easily see how they are doing by comparing these figures against industry benchmarks.

Sugi also provides carbon impact data for similar investments, helping investors to build a greener portfolio in line with their values.

Josh Gregory, CEO and founder of Sugi, told Good With Money that Sugi was born out of frustration at the lack of clarity around sustainable investing.

The missing middle

He said: “While the coronavirus pandemic and increased awareness around climate change have accelerated demand for green investing, it’s hard for everyday investors to take action. There is a lot of jargon and people get downhearted.

“Research shows that 75 per cent of UK investors want their investments to have a positive impact; however, only a small proportion of people actually follow through with it. So there’s a missing middle and that’s what Sugi is aiming to provide.

“The app makes it possible for people to make a conscious choice about where they want to put their money, something that can bring about real change. It’s exciting.”

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Investors can link up their portfolios, including individual savings accounts (ISAs) and self-invested pensions (SIPPS), to the Sugi platform using technology provided by Moneyhub.

Moneyhub is an Open Finance data, intelligence and payments platform that connects to more than 80 online investment platforms, giving Sugi instant access to most of the UK financial market.

Simplifying sustainable investing

The Sugi app can show carbon impact data for more than 15,000 listed equities – around 95 per cent of the listed equities market – as well as more than 3,500 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and various actively-managed funds.

Josh said that one of the main factors putting people off investing sustainably is how complicated current ratings are. “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings are meant to simplify complex issues but are themselves very confusing – even for experienced investors and asset managers,” he said. “All of this ultimately stops more people getting involved.”

Sugi provides carbon data for each investment as one absolute number that can be easily compared. Josh said: “The aim of Sugi is to make green investing easier to understand and more accessible to everyone. Carbon impact is something that is universally understood, and the app enables people to ask ‘What is my personal impact?’ Sugi provides a simple and comparable figure for the carbon impact of investments, making it easy to understand and act on.”

‘Green gateway’

He said there are plans to introduce an even wider range of funds, and more environmental data, in the coming months.

“We have many more metrics in the pipeline,” said Josh. “I see Sugi evolving to be a ‘green gateway’ for investing sustainably, and this is just the beginning.”

The name Sugi comes from the Jōmon Sugi tree, one of the longest living trees on Japan’s Yakushima island, which is where Josh and his wife spent their honeymoon. He said: “The tree is green, long-lasting and valuable – all qualities I wanted to model Sugi on.”