Switch your bank account
Moving the account you use for everyday spending is one of the easiest ways to make sure your money is being used in an environmentally friendly way.
It’s often hard, or impossible, to find out exactly what the big banks are investing people’s money in, or supporting in other ways.
So if you want to be sure your cash isn’t going towards financing industries or projects harming our world, seek providers who are explicitly backing green projects.
Arguably, the UK’s most ethical current account provider is Triodos Bank, based in Bristol and part of a group founded in the Netherlands. It says it only finances organisations making a positive impact for people and the planet.
Its current account, operated online and via an app, comes with a contactless debit Mastercard and offers an overdraft of up to £2,000. But there’s a £3 monthly fee, and no high street branches, so it won’t suit everyone.
Of the high street banks, the Co-operative is the only one that has expressly prohibited support for fossil fuels, says Ethical Consumer, an independent, not-for-profit organisation that reviews companies and products. The Co-operative Bank calls itself “the original ethical bank,” but is now majority-owned by a group of hedge funds and fund managers, which may trouble some.
Then there are app-based banks such as Monzo and Starling, which may well be “cleaner” when it comes to what they invest in and lend to because they are newer, smaller, and don’t necessarily have financial interests around the globe, but aren’t as transparent as a bank such as Triodos.
“If you particularly want to switch to an app-only bank, Starling appears marginally more engaged than the others on ethical issues,” says Ethical Consumer’s website.
Another option is a building society because they are owned by members, not shareholders. The biggest, Nationwide runs a number of current accounts.
Meanwhile, some credit unions offer current accounts. To find one near you, go to findyourcreditunion.co.uk
Moving your bank account is now quick and easy – the industry’s current account switch service has taken away a lot of the hassle.
Sort out your savings
A lot of the above also applies to savings accounts. The good news is, there’s much more choice. There are lots of building societies, including Ecology, which uses savings cash to fund …….