Top 9 platforms for a green stocks and shares ISA in 2022

Written by Lori Campbell on 20th Jan 2022

This is part of a series from Good With Money on ‘How to green your ISA’, showing you how to make your tax-free ISA allowance work for the planet and people as well as your pocket.


An Individual Savings Account (ISA) is a type of investment (or cash savings account if you are going for the cash version) that shelters your returns from tax. With a stocks and shares ISA, you choose investments to hold in your ISA.

The great news is that many DIY investment platforms now offer ‘green’ options for stocks and shares ISAs. These pool investors’ money together to put into companies and projects that are working to solve the world’s most urgent problems and build a cleaner, more sustainable world. It means you can actively choose investments that are targeted to help with the issues you care about most.

You can invest up to £20,000 into an ISA each tax year, or up to £9,000 into a Junior ISA (JISA) on behalf of a child aged under 18. You can choose to use all of your allowance in a stocks and shares ISA or share it between different types, such as cash or Innovative Finance ISAs.

To get started, simply open an account online with the platform provider you want to invest with. Then choose the funds you want to put into your ISA.

Here are 8 platforms on which you can go green with your stocks and shares ISA (in alphabetical order):

BestInvest

Annual fee: 0.4 per cent
Minimum investment: £50 (some funds are £100)

BestInvest’s ‘Best Funds’ list includes a range of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) funds. Its sleek investment search tool makes it easy to browse and filter all of the investments, and it offers some useful guides on sustainable investing and how to choose ethical funds. It is also well worth checking out BestInvest’s long-standing guide to underperforming funds: Spot the Dog.

The Big Exchange

Annual fee: 0.25 per cent
Minimum investment: £25 per month or £100 lump sum

The Big Exchange, co-founded by The Big Issue, is an online investment platform which only lists funds that are proven to be making a positive difference to the planet and its people.

There are 5o + investment funds to choose from, all rated against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, or “Global Goals”, for the type and level of positive impact they’re making to people and planet. Each one is awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal, with gold having the highest ability to bring about positive change. You can choose funds that tackle the issues you care about most.

If you are keen to invest specifically in tackling climate change for example, The Big Exchange now offers the Multi-Asset Climate Fund (MACS Fund). This invests solely in companies that are actively working to help lower carbon emissions. To be included in the fund, they must get 50 per cent of their revenue from climate solutions.

You can invest on The Big Exchange from £25 a month or a lump sum of £100.

Hargreaves Lansdown

Annual fee: 0.45 per cent
Minimum investment: £25 per month or £100 lump sum

Hargreaves Lansdown, or HL, is a stalwart brand and the biggest DIY platform in the UK for personal investors.

HL is beginning to make sustainable investment a bigger part of its offering, relaunching its Wealth Shortlist in June 2020 to include responsible funds for the first time. The list is made up of funds chosen by experts as having the greatest potential to financially outperform their peers over the long term.

There are currently five funds in the ‘Responsible Funds’ category, which are Aegon Ethical Equity, BNY Mellon Sustainable Real Return, Janus Henderson UK Responsible Income, Troy Trojan Ethical Income (Class X), and Legal & General Future World ESG Developed Index.

HL has produced its own guide to ESG investing and says the proportion of its clients with at least one responsible investment fund in their portfolio has doubled over the five years to 2020.

Interactive Investor

Annual fee: £9.99 per month
Minimum investment: £25 per month or any lump sum

Interactive Investor (ii) stands out for its flat fees, but whether this is good value for you personally will depend on how much you are investing in your ISA.

The ii site is clear and simple and boasts the “ACE 40”, which it says is the UK’s first rated list of ethical investments offering “a filtered selection of collective investment vehicles for all investors, new or experienced”. ACE stands for “Avoids Considers Embraces.” We all have different priorities – avoiding fossil fuels, strong corporate governance, treating workers fairly, avoiding tobacco – and the excellent tools on the ii platform will help pinpoint what you are looking for.

Triodos Bank

Annual fee: 0.4 per cent
Minimum investment: £1,000

Triodos Bank, a pioneer in sustainable finance, offers three impact investment funds for you to invest in through its Ethical Stocks and Shares ISA – the Triodos Global Equities Impact Fund, Triodos Pioneer Impact Fund and the Triodos Sterling Bond Impact Fund.

Find out more about Good With Money ‘Good Egg’ company Triodos here.

 

Best robo-advisors:

Nutmeg

Annual fee: 0.75 per cent
Minimum investment: £500

Nutmeg, one of the UK’s biggest robo-advisers, offers a range of proactively-managed ‘socially responsible’ investment portfolios for your ISA that invest according to ethical principles.

It invests in exchange traded funds (or ETFs) that avoid companies engaged in controversial activities, while focusing on those that lead their peers on ESG (environmental, social and governance factors).

Using an ESG screen devised by global market aggregator MSCI, each portfolio carries a score indicating how ethical or ‘socially responsible’ it is, ranging from one for the least to 10 for the most responsible.

Unlike sustainable or impact investment funds that target specific outcomes – for example a reduction in Co2 emissions via a clean energy investment – Nutmeg’s portfolios invest in main markets using the MSCI screen to filter out companies that do not meet its criteria (for example tobacco and controversial weapons).

Wealthify

Annual fee: 0.6 per cent
Minimum investment: £1

Wealthify is a UK-based robo-advisor which invests in ETFs to keep investors’ costs low. Like Nutmeg, it uses an automated process to create portfolios to suit a client’s appetite for risk. In June 2020, Wealthify became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Aviva group, although it continues to be independently run.

When you sign up, you can choose one of five ‘ethical plans’. These aim to avoid companies involved in four main activities that are harmful to society and the environment. They are tobacco, arms, pornography and gambling. Wealthify also aims to limit profits received from oil and gas.

Instead, it proactively invests in companies that are committed to making a positive impact through their ESG practices. Find out more about the ethical plans here.

Best apps:

Clim8

Annual fee: 0.6 per cent
Minimum investment: £25 per month

Clim8 exclusively selects companies and funds that are focused on tackling the climate crisis. Investments through the app span six climate-friendly ‘megatrends’: Circular Economy, Sustainable Food, Water Systems, Green Energy, Clean Mobility and Climate Tech.
Clim8 doesn’t merely screen out fossil fuels, it proactively selects companies that are “planet positive”. The company’s goal is to move billions of pounds of investments into clean energy and truly green, sustainable companies. See our interview with CEO Duncan Grierson to find out more.

CIRCA5000 (previously tickr)

Annual fee: £12 (£1 per month)
Minimum investment: £5 per month

CIRCA5000 is a mobile-only app that allows you to invest in companies that are aiming to solve social and environmental issues around the world. It is designed to make investing easy and accessible to everyone, including those with zero experience of investing.

You can put your cash into companies from three separate themes – climate change, equality and disruptive technology – or a combination of all three, at a risk level you feel comfortable with.

For more information on CIRCA5000, see our full review.

Remember that investments go up and down in value, and you could lose money as well as make it. How you’re taxed will depend on your circumstances, and ISA and tax rules can change.

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