You may not have billions to invest, but your current account and (hoped for) savings probably need to go somewhere, so we’ve picked out a few of the ethical options which exist for well-intentioned individuals such as you.
Don't give all your cash to a pig...
The other articles of this series are:
The Co-operative Bank – as far as banks go, you’ve got to go a long way to beat the Co-op and their internet bank ‘Smile’. In all areas, investment practises, equal opportunities, ethical lending and so on, they are rated very highly. And with branches on many high streets (and many new ones to come), and a no risk of depositors losing their cash in dodgy financial deals, the Co-op are generally streets of their rivals.
Reliance Bank – for an alternative Current account option, you could try Reliance, the bank owned and established by the Salvation Army. All their dealings are done within strict ethical guidelines, and their profits go to benefit the Salvation Army’s evangelistic work.
SAVINGS AND ISA'S
Triodos – the one great exception to the Co-op’s almost monolithic rule on the world of ethical banking is Triodos, a very well regarded bank, which is founded on ethics first and foremost. Their lack of high street presence means they aren’t the household name that the Co-op is, but in terms of ethics, they are pretty much the bees knees. They offer savings accounts and ISAs, and a cast iron ethical guarantee which you can eat your dinner off.
The Co-operative & Smile banks are again the brand of choice if you need to have a credit card, still way ahead of their rivals in terms of ethics.
Ecology Building Society – sick and tired of hearing about the Co-op? Well at least in Mortgages there is a reasonable rival, the Ecology building society majors on the green agenda, and you should be sure that your mortgage lender isn’t getting its money by cutting down the rain forests.
Oikocredit: For an alternative investment method, you could try Oikocredit, it was set up in 1970s to allow churches to lend money to marginalised people in developing countries, and is still doing so today. Based in the Netherlands, it lends its investors' money to microfinance institutions all over the world, with a particular emphasis on projects working in rural areas and women.
Note: Oikocredit is not regulated by the UK by the FSA, and investments aren’t protected by any compensation scheme, but they have paid an annual dividend of 2% every year since 1975, except for two years when the dividend dropped to 1%.
Abundance: An initial plan to link up communities and individuals with Renewable Energy Projects ended up creating an investment company that allows investors to put their money into environmental initiatives. The UK based business makes it possible for you to put your money into a project which will provide renewable energy, and reduce our reliance on polluting fossil fuel power stations.
Social Impact Investment: Ask your financial advisor for Social Impact investments, opportunities where your money is put to work funding something you care about. Your financial return may be lower, but is that all that matters to you?
Stewardship services: If you’re not looking for a financial return on your investment, but instead hoping that the kingdom of God will benefit in the most financially efficient way possible, Stewardship Services have been set up to help Christian workers and their supporters maximise the money that they are given. Stewardship look after ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ accounts for their clients, and claim back tax on any gift-aided donations.
yourethicalmoney.org: If you’re looking for information about ethical financial services or products, you can find a handy summary of many factors on this site, which has been set up to help people who are interested in exactly this subject.
August 17th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross