Your money is powerful. So how can you sustainably use money to support a sustainable lifestyle and create a bigger impact?
Sustainability is the practice of using natural and economic resources responsibly today, so they are available for future generations tomorrow.National Geographic
The above can be said of our own personal finance too. That we practice using our financial resources sustainably so we have enough for today and tomorrow.
But how can we draw these two together? So that our sustainability choices are aligned with our money habits? How can we do Money, With Purpose?
There are 5 money areas we can focus on when using our money to support sustainability and 2 personal ones. Let’s break it down.
Make Money Ethically
How are you making your money? If you’re employed, do your company’s values match your own? Are they paying employees fairly, taking care of their wellbeing or offering green pension options? Are they contributing to sustainability or the wider community? What are their own sustainability policies and are these shared and worked towards? If you’re not sure, ask them or get involved and if not, there are many companies putting this front and centre, could they be a better fit?
If you run your own company have you looked into the B-Corps certification? Or working with other companies such as Ecologi or completing an audit on the resources you use from website to packaging for any ways to improve how you do business.
The fossil fuels industry would be on it’s knees without funding from big banks. A simple bank switch to an ethical or digital bank or traditionally building society takes a few minutes and moves your money away from supporting those actions. Check out the Bank Green website to see if your bank are doing more harm than good and for a list of sustainable alternatives.
Many of us are choosing to spend in line with our sustainable values, not just to do less harm, but to create something positive for our children and the future.
We may be choosing to consume less. Or channeling our finances away from fast fashion to brands that create, waste less, use natural products or fairly pay workers wages. We may be reviewing which car, fuel or materials we use, what and how we eat and the packaging that’s used.
But it can feel overwhelming with so much mis and dis-information and greenwashing. Check out the How to Create a Conscious Spending Plan or visit the guys over at Ethical Consumer Magazine for the low down on the good, bad and ugly brands to support or avoid.
According to the experts at Make My Money Matter, greening your pensions is 21 x more effective at cutting your carbon than giving up flying or all that recycling we do.
If you don’t already do so, you could consider starting investments in ethical, sustainable or socially responsible funds. Here’s some suggestions:
- Choose an ISA with access to ESG Funds
- Switch your pension into a green portfolio
- Invest your kids Junior ISA into cleaner or greener funds for their future, financially and environmentally.
Read our introduction on how to get started investing in the planet
Whether in life or how you leave a legacy, you can make an impact gifting your money too. You can review your Will to include an expression of wishes , leave ethical investments in a Trust, create an ethical will or make donations to charity. Your business can volunteer for charity hours and social initiatives. You can gift into your children’s ethical pensions for theirs and the planets future or choose charities close to your heart to support through life.
An Ethical Will is a gift you leave your loved ones. It’s a way you can express your experiences, values, and other important themes and life lessons you want to pass downTrust and Will
Time and Your Energy are also Resources
The other two factors for being more sustainable with your money are: You and Time.
Your own values will shape which sustainable money actions you take. There is no perfect, nor is someone else’s right, your wrong. These are highly personal values and any actions have to be purposeful for you.
So to use your money sustainably, identify first what is the most important areas for YOU. Then which areas can have the biggest impact, quickly and sustainably for you. For example, if greening your pension takes less time and energy, has a greater impact and aligns with your personal values – then that may be a great place to start.