So you keep rainy day money in your everyday green current account? If you have savings left over, where do you wish to put these? Most investment companies invest in all kinds of bad stuff: arms, animal testing, rainforest destruction, factory farming – if it makes money, they’ll invest in it – pornography, gambling, tobacco etc.
Socially responsible investment companies use a screening process, and take investments out of the bad stuff, and put it into the good stuff. The good news is that as we are now in a society where companies are scrambling to ensure start-ups are green, and are taking off. So whereas before people were concerned they would not make as much interest, today you’re likely to have more success. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.
One new interesting idea that many entrepreneurs and investors are taking, is to go local. Known as ‘locavesting’, this means investing in local start-ups so that your money doesn’t leave town. You may not get the high returns, but what you get instead is a better community full of people-owned supermarkets, organic restaurants and places to take the children that are not theme parks! Read Put Your Money Where Your Life Is.
For businesses and social enterprises, try Unity Trust Bank and Co-operative & Community Finance. Two good books on social investing are Valuing Nature and The Clean Money Revolution. You can switch over portfolios at Ethical Investors.
Simple Savings Accounts
If you want a simple bank account to keep your savings in without playing the markets, then choose from :
- Charity Bank is a blend of a bank and charity, which uses profits to help community causes. It’s a very short application form and then your money helps your local area.
- Shared Interest pools people’s money to offer Fair Trade loans to people abroad. It’s now the world’s biggest Fair Trade lender, helping people to help themselves.
- Foresters Friendly Society is people-owned. Once a member, you get all kinds of member benefits including free legal helplines. And if you’re poorly, you can even go stay at their convalescence home once out of hospital, to get better.
- Ecology Building Society offers a range of savings accounts (including tax-free ISAs). These are used to lend money to people who are building eco-homes or doing up old wrecks, in a sustainable way.