The world is facing some serious challenges with a pandemic, climate crisis and Russia’s war in Ukraine. It means that positive impact investing – where money is directed towards companies that are working on solutions to the planet and society’s most pressing problems – is more important than ever.
If you want to be 100 per cent confident that your money is being used to help build the kind of world you want to live in, look for financial providers with a ‘Good Egg’ mark.
The Good Egg mark was launched in 2017 to make it easy for consumers to find a good deal for the planet and society, as well as their pocket, when choosing where to invest, save, borrow or bank. It is only awarded to companies that can prove they make a positive difference to the wider world, as well as their customers and staff.
We are proud to have seven Good Egg firms. These are Triodos Bank, Ecology Building Society, EQ Investors, Pennine Wealth Solutions, Thrive Renewables, Abundance Investment and our newest edition, Path Financial. We asked our Good Egg companies what they are feeling most hopeful about in the year ahead and what investments they have their eye on.
Bevis Watts, CEO of Triodos Bank UK
“We are focused on making a positive impact in a world that is confronted with severe and difficult challenges; but if anything, it is these same challenges that underpin the necessity of a bank like ours and our vision to change finance. This year we will finance more organisations that are tackling environmental and social challenges.
“We will strive for a banking world that is sustainable, transparent, and diverse. Positive solutions for accelerating progress towards a net-zero economy are happening but the decarbonisation challenge ahead is huge.
“The need to shift to a much more nature-based economy and invest in projects that absorb carbon offers much opportunity. We hope to be able to grow our community of customers in the UK, as this is what will help us to finance impact-creating activities and increase our ability to drive positive change.”
David Macdonald, Founder of Path Financial
“We expect to see the rise and rise of impact investment to continue strongly through 2022. A recent survey by FT Adviser showed that clients have expressed a 90 per cent increase in impact investment over the past 12 months. Investors in companies developing solutions for people and planet will reap the rewards of being aligned to the leaders in their respective fields.
“Sectors like renewable energy generation, technologies that improve energy efficiency and low-carbon buildings can deliver much-needed decarbonisation. The investment sector is well placed to judge and measure investee companies in their progress towards net zero commitments or carbon reduction.
“As we have seen with the tragic unfolding of events in Ukraine, investors have been quick to demand divestment from Russia. At the same time, governments have responded to the geo-political risk by making huge commitments towards more local renewable energy to minimise exposure to Russian oil and gas. We see this as a good example of the impact investment model being a filtering tool to exclude risk and embrace opportunity.
“Another trend we are seeing is the appreciation of good old-fashioned financial planning. Without proper planning and forecasting software people continue to make their lives about money when in fact it can be about using their money to make their lives.”
Mark Armstrong, Founder of Bluesphere
“A company close to BlueSphere’s heart and one we are particularly proud to continue support through 2022 and beyond is Golden Lane Housing (GLH) through the Columbia Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund.
“Golden Lane is one of the UK’s largest supported-housing landlords for people with learning disabilities. In 2014, it was the first charity to issue a bond on the London Stock Exchange and Threadneedle was one of the first investors. GLH has helped to transform the lives of 1,850 people with a range of needs by providing homes and care in over 880 UK properties.
“We are also looking forward to getting involved in the B Corp community after recently becoming certified and trying to help the community in any way we can to help drive positive change. “
Bruce Davis, CEO of Abundance Investment
“Despite the challenges of war and pandemic, we remain convinced that the net zero agenda and the necessity to decarbonise our economy and society is more urgent than ever. The sheer diversity of companies and projects we are now looking at, including four projects raising currently on our platform (with more waiting in the wings), makes us optimistic that green investment is coming of age and that investors are waking up to the fact that you really don’t want to be investing your money against the best interests of people and planet.
“Our investments are raising money to fund the transition to net zero in transport (Iduna, building out EV charging networks), Food production (OneFarm developing sustainable vertical farms), Forestry and carbon capture (carbon plantations introducing a new type of faster growing, deciduous tree for sustainable timber) and local councils (with Camden leading the charge to raise a Local Climate Investment). We have never been so busy at ISA tax year end and hope that the momentum will continue into 2022 and beyond.
Matthew Clayton, Managing Director of Thrive Renewables
“UK households are struggling with increases to their energy bills, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raises further questions about our reliance on imported gas. We’ve long advocated for a clean energy system and it’s positive to see the government acknowledging the huge role renewables will play in improving the country’s energy security.
“One thing is for sure – using fossil fuels is not going to help bring costs down, but we do have solutions ready to go. Natural resources such as wind and solar are now the cheapest forms of electricity generation, and we don’t need to rely on other countries to get it like we do with gas.
“In fact, we’re already seeing renewables return money back to consumers. As wholesale gas prices spiked at the end of last year, wind and solar farms paid back £157 million to households through the government’s primary renewables support scheme. Accelerating our transition to clean, homegrown power must be the priority if we’re going to protect against price shocks in future, as well as meet our net zero goals.
“At Thrive, we’ve been tackling climate change since 1994 and have funded and built 31 clean energy projects across the UK during that time. Our portfolio of projects now consists of onshore wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, renewable heat and battery storage, reflecting the diversity of technologies needed to power the UK from homegrown natural resources.”
You can find out more about our Good Egg companies here.