It’s Good Money Week from 24-30 October, which aims to highlight the ways your cash can have a positive impact on society and the environment.
Good Money Week is an annual campaign designed to grow and raise awareness of sustainable, responsible and ethical finance. Here, we look at some of the ways you can do good with your money.
There aren’t a huge number of lenders which offer green mortgages, but those which do typically offer discounted mortgage rates to homeowners who have improved the energy rating of their home, perhaps by installing double glazing or cavity wall insulation. Saffron Building Society this summer became one of the latest lenders to launch this type of deal, offering a discount of 0.1 of a percentage point off its initial 2.67% fixed rate ‘Retro Fit’ mortgage once homeowners have carried out works that improve the energy efficiency of their property. The mortgage is only available through brokers. Other lenders offering green mortgages include Barclays and Ecology Building Society.
Renewable energy tariffs
Growing numbers of people are turning to green energy tariffs, whereby their supplier generates naturally sourced energy, and replaces the electricity used with renewables by feeding it back into the electrical grid. It’s rare that suppliers offer green gas too, but they will often instead invest in global projects which aim to reduce carbon emissions.
According to Comparethemarket.com, at the beginning of October, five of the 10 cheapest energy tariffs customers to switch to were renewable, demonstrating that ‘going green’ can be cost-effective. Mark Todd, co-founder of energy comparison site energyhelpline.com said: “Many suppliers with bargain deals have five-star star service ratings and renewable electricity, so you can save, get better service, and go green.”
Green energy suppliers include Bulb and Octopus Energy.
According to research by Triodos Bank, the Coronavirus pandemic is motivating over a fifth of investors (22%) to explore investing in ethical investments, rising to 35% of under-35s.
More than one in three people (39%) think ethical investments are the key to addressing climate issues to avoid future pandemics. Adrian Lowcock, head of personal investing at Willis Owen, said: “A focus on companies which do less harm to the environment, be that alternative energy, greener food production or waste reduction, are here to stay, and crucially, they are being rewarded by investors. Clearly the COVID pandemic has certainly accelerated an existing trend, as people took lockdown to revaluate their lives and could witness first-hand the effect human activity was having on their local environment.
“But the key now is whether these sectors, such as oil and airlines, come back to the fore – that’s very unclear at present, unlike the desire to use non-carbon or low-carbon energy, for example.”
Several banks take an ethical approach, including Triodos Bank, Reliance Bank, Ecology Building Society and The Co-operative Bank. Triodos, for example, uses the money that is saved and invested with it to help support a range of impactful organisations protecting people and the planet.
Ethical bank and building society savings rates often aren’t at the top of the best buy tables, but many still beat those offered by the big high street banks.