5 ways to go green with your money this Earth Day
Your money can be a force for good. Here are five ways you can take action today.
Earth Day is always a good reminder to think about how your everyday actions impact the Earth and the climate. But what you might not know is that your financial decisions have a surprisingly large role to play in your environmental impact too.
In this article, we're focusing on five simple changes that you can make this week to go green with your finances. The good news is you might even find that you save a bit of money while you're at it!
1. Switch to a green bank
The first step is to consider on Earth Day is who you bank with. This might not seem like an obvious place to start, but chances are that your bank has a much bigger impact on the environment than you think.
Of particular importance is how your bank invests and lends out the money it holds. Lots of Australia's biggest banks are financing industries like the fossil fuel sector that contribute significantly to the climate crisis. This means that there is a chance that the dollars you have stashed away are being used to fund these practices.
Working out which banks are doing their bit for the environment can be difficult, which is why we launched the Green Bank of the Year category as part of the Finder Green Awards. Bank Australia was our winner here, with an impressive commitment to never lending to climate-damaging industries. Teacher's Mutual Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac were all worthy finalists for this category too.
2. Move to an ethical super fund
It's a very similar story for superannuation funds. According to the OECD, Australia has the third largest pension pot in the world, and that equates to over $2 trillion being invested for future retirement.
That's a huge amount of money and, if it was invested in the right way, it could be hugely beneficial for the fight against climate change. Indeed, research by Future Super has shown that just 7.7% of the national superannuation pot could fund 100% renewable power in Australia by 2030.
The good news is that there are lots of ethical super funds out there, and our Green Superfund of the Year award helps you identify the ones really doing their bit. Australian Ethical was the front-runner here, with Future Super and Verve Super also performing well as finalists.
3. Invest in an eco-friendly ETF
With interest rates at an all-time low, we're seeing more people turning to the stock market and investments to try and get a return on their money. And, in recent years, there have been lots of climate-friendly investments that have offered good returns too.
Exchange traded funds (ETF) are a great place to start, and our ethical ETF guide will point you in the right direction for how to invest your money in this way. eInvest Future Impact Small Caps Fund (Managed Fund), Intelligent Investor Ethical Share Fund (Managed Fund) and BetaShares Global Sustainability Leaders ETF are all good options that have performed well in the 12 months leading up to 31 January 2021.
4. Find a sustainable insurer
This might seem like another unusual place to reduce your impact, but Australia's largest insurers are also some of the country's biggest companies, with carbon footprints to match.
However, a number of brands are taking action to create a climate-positive insurance industry. These companies are doing lots of planet-positive things, like using renewable energy, setting ambitious emissions targets and committing to investing premiums sustainably.
Our Green Insurer of the Year was QBE, which is a great option if you want to reduce your environmental impact. Huddle also gets the thumbs up as a finalist in this category for its efforts including a carbon-neutral car insurance product.
5. Save money with a low-cost green energy plan
Electricity generation makes up a very significant portion of carbon emissions globally, so this is another place where your choice of provider can have a big impact on the planet. In most parts of Australia, we're lucky enough to get to choose our energy provider, and there is a big difference between the sustainability credentials of the options on the market.
Our Green Electricity Provider of the Year award was created to help you find an eco-friendly option, and Powershop and Energy Locals were both winners in this category. Even better, both of these companies offer carbon-neutral plans as standard at very competitive price points, so you might be able to save some money while saving the planet.
Looking for more Earth Day info and tips for making greener choices? Check out the Finder Green homepage.
Image credits: Getty Images