Top sustainable investment platforms in 2022

Written by Lori Campbell on 23rd Oct 2022

With so many Brits now worried about the rising cost of living and paying the household bills, it might seem like caring about the environment is less of an urgent issue than it was a year ago.

But investing our money sustainably is in fact more critical now than ever.

The following platforms allow you to invest in funds or projects that pool investors’ money together to put into companies and organisations that are working to build a better, cleaner, more sustainable future.


For your complete guide to the best ethical and sustainable investment funds available to UK investors, see the latest Good Investment Review, produced in partnership with Square Mile Research and The Big Exchange


Which platform you choose should depend on a number of factors, including how much money you have to invest and what you want to invest in.

Stocks and shares ISA options

AJ Bell YouInvest

Investments: Investment funds, company shares, trusts, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), bonds
Annual fee: 0.25 per cent (up to £250,000 invested, then at decreasing rates)

Although it is set up for the more confident investor, the AJ Bell YouInvest platform is relatively easy to navigate and has some nice guides and articles. Importantly, it is one of the more competitively priced platforms too.

Within its large range of funds you’ll find a good selection of sustainable options. It currently has six ethical funds in its ‘favourite funds’ list, which is hand-picked by experts as being most likely to bring you a steady profit.

BestInvest

Investments: Investment funds, company funds, trusts, ETFs
Annual fee: 0.4 per cent (up to £250,000 invested, then at decreasing rates)

BestInvest is a stalwart of the investing space and has its own team of financial advisers should you not fancy the DIY option. The annual price of the platform is a bit higher than other low cost options at 0.4 per cent, unless you have over £250,000 to invest at which point the cost comes down to 0.2 per cent.

BestInvest’s ‘best funds’ list includes at least nine ethical options and – for those seeking a managed solution – it offers two sustainable ready-made portfolios to suit your preferred level of risk. Both invest in companies that aim to have a positive effect on the world while avoiding those that have a detrimental impact.

The platform feels like it is geared towards a more seasoned investor, but it does have 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

Investments: Equities (shares in a company), bonds, or sometimes both
Annual fee: 0.25 per cent

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.

You can choose to invest in the issues that matter to you most – whether that’s lowering carbon emissions, contributing to social housing or helping to protect wildlife.

Its ever-growing list of sustainable investment funds are 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.

The Big Exchange offers ready-made portfolios, or you can pick your own funds. The Big Exchange goes above and beyond in the name of transparency by displaying all the companies each fund invests in, not just the top 10.

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

CIRCA5000 (previously tickr)

Investments: ETFs
Annual fee: 0.45 per cent (0 per cent for pensions to April 2023, then 0.45 per cent)

Launched in 2019, 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 aims to make investing easy and accessible to everyone (including those with zero experience of investing). CIRCA5000 is now a certified B-Corp company.

You can put your cash into companies from three separate themes – People, Planet, or People & Planet – at a risk level you feel comfortable with. Minimum investment is £5. As well as the annual fee, there is a monthly subscription fee of £1.

It’s worth noting that CIRCA5000 invests your money 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. For more information on CIRCA5000, see our full review.


Get £5 to invest in CIRCA5000 by signing up here


Fidelity Personal Investing

Investments: Investment funds, company shares, trusts, ETFs
Annual fee: 0.35 per cent (up to £250,000 invested then at decreasing rates)

A global investment giant, Fidelity has around 2.5 million clients across the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific. There’s lots of content to pore over on the website but our favourite feature is the ‘Fidelity Sustainable Investment Finder,’ which helps you find the right ethical investment for your needs. Fidelity currently has a massive 452 sustainable funds available to choose from.

There is also a handy sustainable investing jargon buster. Even if you ultimately decide to use another platform to invest through, these handy features makes Fidelity a good stop for researching what’s out there.

Hargreaves Lansdown

Investments: Investment funds, company shares, trusts, ETFs, bonds
Annual fee: 0.45 per cent

Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) is a well-known, trusted brand and the biggest DIY platform in the UK for personal investors. It is also one of the most expensive with an annual fee of 0.45 per cent, so be wary of how this might chip away at your returns. You can start with just £100 or £25 per month.

HL is making strides 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 six funds in the ‘Responsible Funds’ category. While this is still a small percentage of the 69-strong list, it’s a promising move in the right direction. HL has also produced its own guide to ESG investing.

Interactive Investor

Investments: Investment funds, company shares, trusts, ETFs, bonds
Annual fee: £119.88 (£9.99 fixed monthly charge – or £19.99 for Super Investor plan)

Interactive Investor stands out for its flat fees. However, this means the charges only start to make sense if you have a larger portfolio of £40,000 or more (amounts lower than this should use percentage-based providers and the cheaper the better).

The site is clear and simple and boasts the “ACE 40”, which it says is the UK’s first rated list of ethical investments. From its list of more than 140 ethical investment options, it has picked out what it considers to be the 40 best-in-class funds, investment trusts and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

ACE stands for “Avoids Considers Embraces”. The list of ‘best in class’ funds is separated according to asset class and investment category.

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 their competitors, such as Wealthify and CIRCA5000 which invest passively through low-cost Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). 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‘ or ‘Future Leaders’ 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.” For more information on Simply EQ, see our full review.

Wealthify

Investments: Mutual funds, ETFs
Annual fee: 0.6 per cent

Wealthify is what is known as a robo-adviser, which means you don’t have to do any work: you say how much risk you want to take and how much you want to invest each month and an algorithm invests it in a selection of funds for you. However, while Wealthify’s five Ethical Plans are the best ethical and sustainable robo options out there, they still contain passive funds (aka index trackers) that invest in oil and gas majors, big banks etc. (though no tobacco), so bear that in mind.

Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) options

Abundance

Investments: Direct loans to projects and businesses, secondary market
Annual fee: None

Good Egg company Abundance is a niche platform focusing on peer-to-peer lending for businesses and councils that are developing green infrastructure to help combat climate change.

Minimum investment varies, but starts at £5. The returns you can expect vary a fair bit too.

Typically, returns on crowdfunding sites like Abundance are higher than on traditional investment platforms but that comes with higher risk such as the infrastructure project or business struggling or failing.

The platform allows you to trade some of the loans (known as debentures) with other Abundance investors which is good for diversification. It also has a tax-efficient Innovative Finance ISA option, which you can find out more about here.

Ethex

Investments: Direct equity (eg shares in social enterprises), bonds, funds, secondary equity market
Annual fee: None

A Good With Money ‘Good Egg’ company, Ethex is an innovator in the platform space and is designed specifically for people wanting to do good with their money. It offers crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, which means you can invest directly in projects such as affordable housing.

Like Abundance, Ethex allows you to invest in peer-to-peer loans through a tax efficient Innovative Finance ISA, which you can open on the website as you invest. Ethex also offers some funds through its platform: sustainable funds only of course! Minimum investment amounts vary but can be as low as £1. Ethex investors can use a marketplace to trade eligible shares and bonds with others on the platform.

You can also invest in bonds with Ethex’s sister company Energise Africa – a pioneering project providing solar panels for rural communities throughout Africa.

Triodos Bank

Investments: Bonds and company shares
Annual fee: None

Good With Money Good Egg Triodos Bank has a crowdfunding platform that offers Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) investments in a range of positive impact bonds. These enable you to invest directly in pioneering organisations that are delivering positive change.

All of the investment opportunities offered by Triodos, a B-Corp firm, are with pioneering organisations delivering positive environmental, cultural or social impact. Triodos currently has a ‘Trees for Life’ offer open, which is a six per cent charity bond to support rewilding in the Scottish Highlands through the development of a new visitor centre.

Lendwise

Investments: Direct peer-to-peer loans to postgraduate students
Annual fee: None

Lendwise is the only peer-to-peer lender in the UK dedicated to education finance. It offers loans of £5,000 to £1,000 to postgraduate students, enabling them to improve their career prospects and earning potential.

Investors with Lendwise have enabled students to study at universities and business schools across the globe, therefore making a positive social impact while also targeting a personal financial return. Minimum initial investment is £1,000.

Lendwise directly addresses two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – Quality Education and Reduced Inequalities.


The Good Guide to the Innovative Finance ISA


Risk warning: Remember, that as with all investing your capital is at risk.

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