Aside from Cash ISAs and Stocks and Shares ISAs, there’s a third way to invest any extra cash that is gaining in popularity – the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA).
An IFISA is a type of ISA that allows you to include investments that have been made via crowdfunded bonds or peer-to-peer loans. Within the IFISAs on offer, there are sustainable options aplenty.
As with any ISA, you can invest up to £20,000 per year without paying any tax on your returns or interest. IFISAs arguably offer an option that sits somewhere between the reliability of cash, and the potentially higher returns from investment in the stock market (over the longer term).
However, IFISAs are riskier than cash savings and can vary dramatically so make sure you read the risk description of the one you are interested in carefully. Unlike mainstream ISAs, they are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). You can also check out the best platforms for a green stocks and shares ISA before you decide.
Find out more about this ISA wildcard in our Good Guide to IFISAs
Here, we round up the top platforms for making your IFISA money green this year.
Good With Money ‘Good Egg’ Triodos has a crowdfunding platform that offers IFISA investments in a range of positive impact bonds. These enable you to invest directly in pioneering UK-based organisations that are delivering positive change.
All of the investment opportunities offered by Triodos are with organisations delivering positive environmental, cultural or social impact. This could be reducing plastic pollution, tackling inequality, protecting nature, or generating renewable energy – all with the aim of a financial return alongside helping to create a more sustainable world.
Tridoos is a B-Corp firm, which means it has been assessed against a number of strict criteria including social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
Abundance, another Good With Money ‘Good Egg’ firm, is a trailblazing renewable energy platform where you can invest in a wide range of green and social infrastructure projects through your IFISA from a minimum of just £5 in each.
This lets you easily diversify your holdings within an Abundance IFISA across a range of sectors, investment terms and risk levels. Most of the projects available for investment offer six-monthly cash returns, which are paid straight into your Abundance IFISA account.
All its investments are direct; you choose the companies you fund, and you can see exactly how your money will be used to earn you a return. Abundance is also a B-Corp company.
The Abundance marketplace lets you buy into any of its past investments. Although you should look to invest for the long-term, you can also use the marketplace to sell your investment to another buyer if you need to get your money back earlier than expected.
Abundance is currently offering a five-year investment to help Lewisham Council reach net zero through sustainable transport projects. The Lewisham Climate Action 2028 is targeting returns of 4.3 per cent per year.
There is also an eight-year investment in plymouth-based EV charging firm Wenea with estimated returns of 8.2 per cent IRR*, and a 10-year investment in Carbon Plantations Norfolk to fund the planting of sustainable timber with targeted returns of eight per cent per year.
Top 9 platforms for a green stocks and shares ISA
Ethex is an innovator in the platform space and is designed specifically for people wanting to do good with their money. It only invests in renewable energy, fair trade, social housing, organic farming, green transport, or micro-finance schemes.
Ethex, a not-for-profit company, offers crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, which means you can invest directly in the projects that interest you. There is a detailed social and financial profile for each investment so you can choose the one that most closely matches your values.
Minimum investment amounts vary but can be as low as £1. Ethex investors can use its marketplace to trade eligible shares and bonds with others on the platform.
In 2017, Ethex partnered with crowdfunding platform Lendahand to form Energise Africa. This IFISA platform enables ordinary people to invest in bonds issued by solar firms, so they can provide pay-as-you-go solar power systems to low-income families in countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, the DRC and Tanzania.
Ethex is currently has a bond offer in ethical loan provider Great Western Credit Union, with a forecast return of 6.5 per cent over eight years. It also has a bond offer in renewable energy provider Solar for Schools with up to five per cent returns over five years.
Lendwise, which launched in 2018, matches private investors with borrowers who want to fund their studies to further their career and therefore their earnings potential. It is the UK’s only peer-to- peer lender to specialise in education finance.
The platform provides fair and flexible loans to students who have the personal merit to take postgraduate courses at top business schools and universities in the UK or internationally – but maybe not all of the funding.
Meanwhile, lenders can target a competitive return on their investment of around six to 12 per cent while also making a positive social impact. The minimum initial investment is £1,000.
Top 3 green funds for your ISA or Lifetime ISA
Risk warning: Remember that investments go up and down in value, and you could lose money as well as make it. How you’re taxed will depend on your circumstances, and ISA and tax rules can change.
* IRR is a financial metric used to estimate the profitability of future investments. It takes into account the value of money over time.