Sustainable lifestyle

Ethical banking and investing: where to put your money

Ethical banking and investing are descriptors that suggest the companies we bank with share our sustainable goals. While we may be trying to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, where we put our money could be telling a different story. Did you know that some banks actively invest in fossil fuels, fracking, and mining? You may already think about sustainable fashion and the most environmentally friendly textiles. You also may even have taken a look at our top tips for embracing a vegan lifestyle. Besides these forms of sustainability, there is more to the story. Where we store our money matters.

Do you want to ensure you are subscribing to ethical banking and investing institutions? This article will give you a helping hand! I’ll detail some of the most environmentally-friendly banks and their sustainable policies.

ethical banking and investing, beach girl on a rope swing

Ethical banking choices, United Kingdom

If you’re based in the U.K., it may surprise you to know that some top banks invest in fossil fuels. According to Greenpeace, banks like HSBC and Barclays are amongst the worst offenders. A study by Bank Track revealed that in 2019 alone, Barclays invested over $85 billion into fossil fuels.

In a similar fashion that who you vote for counts, your money really matters. If you don’t want to be a part of their investments, here are some alternative options.

Triodos bank

Every penny banked with Triodos is one that you can count on. They focus on environmental, cultural, and social sustainability. On top of that, they promise never to ‘lend to an organisation that puts profit before people and planet’. Sustainability is at the heart of this bank, with a proven history of financing positive global change. This is all coupled with a wide range of sustainable projects!

All things considered, Triodos is by far the best ethical banking service in the UK.

Ecology Building Society (EBS)

Accounting for £198 million in assets, the Ecology Building Society finances sustainable goals. EBS prioritises ethical savings, affordable housing, and sustainable mortgages. Due to this, their building projects are low-impact and promote the use of renewable energy. EBS also pays its taxes responsibly and has achieved the Fair Trade Mark. That’s a lot more than can be said about other U.K. banks!

Ethical banking choices, United States of America

The tenth annual fossil fuel report exposed that U.S. banks are the worst funding offenders. Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase all contribute massively to fossil fuel investment. In fact, JPMorgan Chase invested over $196 billion in 2019. That figure accounts for 10% of all investment from the 33 largest global banking institutions.

The same report also found that top banks often take little interest in human rights. These companies invest in fracking on indigenous land. Let’s look at alternative banks that believe in ethical banking and investing.

girl in yorkshire landscape with Bagmaya bag

Aspiration

Aspiration is a nationwide U.S. bank that is committed to a sustainable future. We love them because ethical banking and investing are at the heart of their business. They focus on affecting real change by investing their money in sustainable projects. Additionally, Aspiration has committed to giving a dime of every dollar they make towards a range of ethical goals.

They invest in water, education, the environment, human rights, and more. Aspiration is environmentally driven and ethically conscious. Due to their admirable commitment to sustainability, they make our list.

Ethical Investing

If you’re one to invest in the stock exchange, doing some company research could alter you to potential environmental conflicts.

Of course, you want the companies you invest in to match your own sustainable goals. A large portion of the companies listed on the S&P 500 will release sustainability reports. By taking a look at these reports, you can establish if this is a company you want to support. If the company doesn’t release a sustainability report, that may tell you everything you need to know!

When it comes to ethical banking and investing, your money makes a difference. If you’re committed to a sustainable future, try and make sure your bank is too. Were you surprised by any of the banks mentioned on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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