The climate takes the spotlight this Saturday for World Earth Day, which is focused on investing in our planet.
Helping the environment and making eco-friendly lifestyle choices really shouldn’t equate to spending MORE money. Here, we’ve picked out seven easy changes you can make to help save the planet – and hopefully some pounds too.
1. Switch to a greener bank
The vast majority of people in the UK bank with one of the Big Five banks, which sadly don’t have the best record when it comes to the environment. According to Make My Money Matter, these five banks – Barclays, HSBC, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds – provided $37 billion (£28 billion) to fossil fuel companies in the last 12 months alone.
By switching to a green bank or building society your money can have a more positive environmental or social impact. It also sends a powerful message to the big players that they need to change. We like Good Egg Triodos Bank, The Co-operative, Nationwide, Cumberland Building Society and digital banks Starling and Monzo.
2. Look at the carbon impact of your investments
Sugi, our newest Good Egg company, allows you to see the carbon impact of your investment portfolio – and make it greener. Sugi compares carbon data across more than 15,000 companies and a selection of investment funds and ETFs. It also offers a ‘temperature check’ on your portfolio to see how your investments are contributing to global warming.
MotherTree calculates the carbon impact of your money and helps you switch to greener, FSCS-protected providers.
3. Invest sustainably
Now you’ve checked the carbon impact of your investments, you might feel motivated to change them to ones that make a positive impact. This is easier than you might think. A good place to start is our Good Investment Review which looks at a growing universe of responsible funds.
Platforms like The Big Exchange (A Good Egg) and Interactive Investor, as well as wealth managers like EQ Investors (a Good Egg), all offer sustainable portfolios. If you don’t feel confident choosing and managing your own investments, there are plenty of ready-made positive impact portfolios on offer.
While picking ethical investments has never been easier, as always with investing, your capital is at risk. Don’t forget to pay attention to risk levels and any fees attached.
4. Green your pension!
Your pension is likely to be the biggest pot of money you will ever have, making it the most powerful tool in your financial armoury for change.
Check out our Good Guide to Pensions, produced in partnership with PensionBee. This includes insights on some of the greener pension providers like Nest, Penfold and the Sustainable Pension Company. PensionBee also offers the FossilFree pension plan and the Impact plan. You’ll find other green options in our top ethical pension funds. Make My Money Matter also has lots of information on how to green your provider or ask your current one to up their game.
5. Get help from an ethical IFA
A growing number of Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) and wealth managers offer advice on ethical and sustainable investments and can help you put your money to work for the planet as well as for yourself. Path Financial, Bluesphere, Pennine Wealth Solutions and EQ Investors all hold the Good Egg accreditation, and Ethical Futures is listed in our Good Directory. For higher net worth investors, Castlefield offers a range of advisory services.
6. Make your savings work for you and the planet
When choosing a savings provider, you’ll want to look for the highest rate of interest. But you can also pick a provider that actively helps the environment (or at least doesn’t harm it). Providers like Good Eggs Ecology Building Society and Triodos Bank as well as Charity Bank say they use their customers’ deposits to fund only those organisations delivering positive environmental or social impacts.
7. Green your home
Reading our Good Guide to Going Green at Home is a great starting point. The C-Change mortgage from guide sponsor and Good Egg company Ecology Building Society offers borrowers savings of up to 1.50 per cent on the standard variable rate. Borrowers are rewarded for creating an energy-efficient home with reduced energy bills and a lower mortgage rate.
Naturesave offers green home and travel insurance by allocating 10 per cent of customers’ premiums to environmental projects. Tandem Bank, through its Allium home lending arm, offers green home improvement loans. Charity Bank is offering £1000 or £2000 cashback when you buy or build an energy-efficient building with its Sustainable Buildings Loan.