Too hot to handle? Top 3 sustainable investment platforms

Written by Lisa Stanley Mann on 25th Aug 2022

It may be hard to consider adding more cash to your investments now, at a time when inflation is on the up and up and markets are on a bit of a rollercoaster.

However, investing should always be for the longer term, meaning your money stays locked away whether the markets are high or low. As they say, “it’s not about timing the market, but about time in the market”. History shows that the stock market is one of the only sectors that has consistently grown more than inflation.

You might also be horrified by the catastrophic weather events unfolding across the world, and want to use your money to support investments that mitigate climate change.

So if you’ve been thinking that now is the time to invest – but being a Good With Money reader obviously want to do it sustainably – here’s our thoughts on the top three easy-to-use sustainable investment platforms.

The Big Exchange

Investments: Equities, bonds, or sometimes both
Annual fee: 0.25 per cent.

Special one per cent cashback offer until 22 October

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.

It is currently running a one per cent cashback offer meaning investors get a one per cent cash reward on the value of transfers into the platform until 22 September. Transfers in apply to ISA, JISA or General Investment Accounts moved from other providers and the offer is open to new and existing The Big Exchange customers. The maximum cashback is £600 – on a maximum transfer total of £60,000.

The Big Exchange offers a range of around 65 investment funds with different sustainable aims, from lowering carbon emissions, contributing to social housing or helping to protect wildlife.

The platform aslo offers three ready-made investment bundles – ‘cautious’, ‘balanced’ or ‘adventurous’ – put together by independent experts based on how much risk the investments are likely to take over time.

We particularly like the fact that The Big Exchange takes transparency up a gear and displays each and every company that each fund invests in, not just the top 10.

You can invest from £25 a month or a lump sum of £100.

CIRCA5000

Investments: ETFs
Annual fee: 0.5 per cent (0 per cent for pensions)

Launched in 2019, CIRCA5000 is a mobile-only app that allows you to invest in companies aiming to solve global social and environmental issues.

Investments on the CIRCA5000 platform are in Exchange Traded Funds or ETFs. These are “passive” investments, meaning the money goes into a basket of companies and the asset manager simply keeps watch. While this is a cheaper style of investing, it may not be as positively impactful as an active approach.

You can put your cash into companies from three separate themes – People, Planet, or People & Planet – at a risk level you feel comfortable with – cautious, balanced or adventurous. The underlying sustainable sectors making up the three themes span food, clean energy, clean water, pharma, digital and EdTech, cyber security and data privacy and green bonds.

Minimum investment is £5. As well as the annual fee, there is a monthly subscription fee of £1.

Simply EQ

Investments: Equities, bonds, property, commodities, alternatives and cash
Annual fee: 0.99 per cent for investments up to £100,000, then reducing

The fact that Simply EQ’s online portfolios are actively managed means they come with a slightly higher charge than competitors such as CIRCA5000, which invests passively through low-cost ETFs (see above). It also means that you can feel a little more confident about the positive difference your money is making. Minimum investment is £250 per month or a £1,000 lump sum.

You can choose from the ‘Positive Impact‘, ‘Future Leaders’ or ‘Climate Action’ portfolios. The Positive Impact portfolio actively screens for social and environmental impact and is designed to maximise your profit while also making a positive difference to the planet and its people. Future Leaders “invests in the sustainable leaders of tomorrow,” and Climate Action invests for a low carbon future.

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