Divesting means moving your investments out of fossil fuel companies and other damaging industries like tobacco and gambling. This guide by The Guardian is a good introduction to divestment – what it means and how to go about it.
But you can go further than that and actively seek investments in companies and projects that positively tackling the climate crisis. You can read more about ethical investments in these guides:
Ethical investing explained – Which?
Ethical saving and investing – Money Advice Service
Unfortunately, there is no official scheme to guide investors on just how green an investment is but there are lots of resources available to help you choose. Also remember that, as with all investing, ethical investment involves financial risk, so make sure you’ve properly researched the investment you choose.
As a first step, you may wish to check with your current provider where your funds are invested. If they are invested in fossil fuels or other damaging industries, you could ask about options for switching to an ethical fund. If they don’t have one, time to move on!
Investing and borrowing locally
You can invest close to home in local community benefit shares, which fund local projects that benefit the community. This guide explains more:
What are Community Shares? | Community Shares
Many of these projects are to develop renewable energy schemes or other low-carbon infrastructure. Examples of these in Cumbria are Burneside Community Energy, Community Energy Cumbria, Bay Wind Energy Co-operative, Killington hydro by Killington and District Sustainable Energy Trust (K-SET) and Charge My Street. Keep an eye open for new share offers.
You can also stay local and use a credit union for savings and loans. Credit unions are a form of financial co-operative. Like building societies, they are mutuals owned and controlled by the members, not by external shareholders pushing for maximised profits. They are democratic in their membership and in their board of directors, and, with their low loan rates, they enable members to take advantage of certain financial products that they might not otherwise be able to benefit from. You can find out more here:
Saving with credit unions | Ethical Consumer
We use all sort of financial products for saving, borrowing and insurance. Ethical Consumer provides a range guides, including ethical bank accounts, investment funds, ISAs, pensions, mortgages and insurance for your home, car, travel and even pets.
Even the way you browse on your computer to find these ethical investments can reduce your carbon emissions. For example, search engine Ecosia will plant trees rather than take profits from your searches. Others support charities or particular environmental causes.
This blog suggests some alternative search engines, web browsers, email providers and other online platforms.