The start of 2022 has seen inflation reach record highs, which means the value of your cash will be falling fast if it is sat in a savings account or Cash ISA.
Meanwhile, concerns about new covid variants, interest rates and the war in Ukraine have caused a choppy ride for global stock markets.
It’s a disorientating time for investors, with many unsure what to do for the best. But with an ongoing pandemic, increasingly dramatic signs of climate change, and the uncertainty of a war in Europe, investments that have a positive impact on the world and society seem best placed to come out well in the long run.
Although the stock markets are highly sensitive to political and economic events, there ARE positive funds that are what’s called ‘uncorrelated’, meaning they tend to perform independently – often in opposition to – the movements of the wider markets.
Here we round up our top six:
Sustainable food – OneFarm
OneFarm wants to transform the way food is produced in the UK with indoor vertical farms that provide an environmentally sustainable food supply on a commercial scale.
The farms will use vertical growth towers to produce tasty, nutritious food on a fraction of the land that is needed for conventional farming, therefore helping the UK to meet its climate goals.
Its modular approach to growing will use highly precise climate control and LED lighting technology, which allows a single site to grow a reliable and flexible supply of produce, 365 days a year, whatever the weather.
OneFarm aims to raise at least £4 million for its first project in Newmarket, Suffolk.
Investors will earn a potential return of nine per cent a year before tax for seven years via tradable, regulated Debentures that can be sheltered from tax in an Abundance ISA or pension.
Tree planting – Carbon Plantations
Carbon Plantations is planting a new species of fast-growing broadleaf hardwood trees – grown in the UK for the first time – which can absorb carbon dioxide up to seven times faster than newly planted native woodland.
The trees are deciduous and can also boost biodiversity and help regenerate the soil. The timber they produce is strong and lightweight, providing a source of high value, sustainable UK-grown timber.
Carbon Plantations is raising up to £4.7 million to fund a 195 hectare plantation on the Euston Estate in Suffolk as the first step in delivering its vision to help farmers plant up to 3,000 hectares of trees on previously intensively-farmed agricultural land.
Through Abundance, investors can earn a fixed eight per cent interest per year for 10 years.
Electric vehicles – Iduna 2
Iduna aims to expand access to public electric vehicle charging across the North West of England. Since the funding of its first investment on Abundance in April 2021, it has been busy scaling up its business. Iduna has taken over the management of Be.EV – the region’s biggest public EV charging network with over 7,500 members.
The company is now developing new chargers for the Be.EV network, on public sector and private sites, as well managing the existing network to ensure chargers are well maintained and available for all.
It is raising £6.5 million to fund the construction of 65 additional public chargers within Greater Manchester and the North West.
Through Abundance, investors can earn a potential fixed interest rate of eight per cent per year over five years.
Reducing waste and emissions – Library of Things
Library of Things is an award-winning social enterprise that helps people to save money and reduce waste by affordably renting out useful items from local spaces. It’s on a mission to ‘make borrowing better than buying for people and the planet.’
This offer also benefits from up to £50,000 of match funding from a social investment institution which will match private investments pound for pound. Library of Things aims to raise £300,000 to bring borrowing to 5o+ UK neighbourhoods by 2025.
Through Ethex, investors can earn a potential return of twice their investment over a term of around six years. Minimum investment is £118. Investments in this share offer qualify for EIS tax relief. This means investors can benefit from 30 per cent income tax relief on the amount invested.
Ethical farming – Stroud Micro Dairy
Stroud Micro Dairy is a community-supported, sustainable dairy farm that uses regenerative and ethical farming methods to produce raw milk products for the wider community.
Through a share offer with Ethex, it plans to bring the dairy farm into community-ownership to continue creating a positive impact for people, animals and the planet. It’s aiming to raise £225,000 to help move it into full community ownership, grow its herd size, and support its commitment to regenerative farming practices that improve soil quality, promote local biodiversity and keep their animals happy and healthy.
Interest will be paid at the end of the calendar year at a rate of your choice between zero to three per cent. Shares in Stroud Micro Dairy are withdrawable after three years. However, this is at the discretion of the directors, and you may not be able to withdraw the full amount you purchased at once.
Renewable energy – Empower Community Foundation (coming soon)
Empower Community is a social enterprise designed to accelerate the transition to sustainable low carbon local economies, by seeking to ensure that the financial benefits of renewable energy go back into local communities.
Lending from Triodos Bank has already supported two Empower Community solar projects: Drove Lane Solar Park in Wiltshire, and New Mains of Guynd Solar Park in Angus, Scotland. Together the projects should help provide almost 9,800MWh of clean energy annually.
Triodos will soon be offering a 4.25 per cent inflation-linked-interest bond, eligible for an Innovative Finance ISA, to refinance these fully-operational sites.
Risk warning: As with any investment, your capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed. It is important that you check the offer document or factsheet that covers risks specific to an individual investment before you go ahead.