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What change will you make?

What we do with our money can have a big impact, here are some simple tips for using your money to live more sustainably

Megan Hermes | 08 Jun 2022

Hands outstretched full of coins with a sign reading 'Make a change'. Image credit: Katt Yukawa/ Unsplash

Through our current campaign we’re letting the UK Government know that it’s Time to Deliver  on the financial promises they and the leaders of other wealthy nations have made to climate-vulnerable countries. But what about our own finances? Have you considered that the way you interact with money – how you save it and spend it – has the potential to contribute towards a fairer, greener world in which people can flourish? 

For example, do you know what your bank or pension provider does with your money? Do you know if they use it to fund fossil fuels? What we do with our money can have a big impact, but it’s something that’s often overlooked on sustainable lifestyle lists.

‘The role of money – and how it is used by banks, investors and businesses – is critical. We can all take steps through where we bank, how we invest, our pensions and our spending, that can help avoid climate catastrophe, restore nature and protect the poorest communities from harm.’ Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR)

Pensions

The first area ECCR recommends you look at is your pension. Depending on your stage of life and your employment status, you may have different degrees of control over your pension – but we can all take a closer look at how our pensions are being invested and take steps to ensure they are contributing to a greener, fairer future for everyone. Perhaps you could speak to your organisation or employer about the pension provider they use, and ask them to consider one that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels.

Savings

Whether you’re a recent graduate or someone who's been accruing savings for years, we can each think about where we bank. Many of the high street’s biggest banks are some of the biggest fossil fuel funders. Moving your money to a more ethical bank means your savings won’t be used to fund the climate crisis, and provide you with an opportunity to let your bank know why you’re moving. Check out Ethical Consumer’s scorecards to see how your bank fares.

Investing

Whether you have £5 or £500 to invest, there are lots of ways to invest in clean energy or climate-friendly businesses, and in the process quite literally invest in a cleaner, greener future. If you’ve not considered investing before, check out ECCR’s green investor resources to find out how you can get started.

Stewarding

Many of us are not only in charge of our own finances but may have a say about how our churches or organisations use their money. Could you ask your church leaders to take a closer look at the church’s finances, or ask them to swap to a more ethical bank? Again, ECCR has some great resources to get you started if you’d like to encourage your church to make more sustainable choices with their finances.

Spending power

Finally, of course, we can look at how we spend our money. When you’re out and about you can look for labels such as Fairtrade, Living Wage employer or the Fair Tax Mark, and opt for ethical businesses, co-operatives and B Corps to use your spending power for good.

You can also donate money to causes that place climate action at the heart of what they do. Tearfund’s worldwide network of partners and local churches are delivering practical solutions to the climate crisis – from tree-planting to projects tackling the waste crisis. You can help these solutions reach those most impacted by climate change, by making a donation today.

To find out more about how to ‘green’ your finances check out ECCR’s Green your money campaign resources here

 

  Megan Hermes

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