Money

Listen Up, Here’s A Beginners Guide To Clean Money

By Rick Stephens
2nd Nov 2020

There are plenty of ways to live a greener, more eco-conscious lifestyle. Ditching single-use plastic helps, as does eating less or no meat, and taking public transport over hopping in your car is, of course, an obvious one. One lesser-known method to doing our part for the planet, and one that has the potential to improve our carbon footprint by 27 times, is to join the clean money revolution.

The concept may sound like a too hard basket task, but there are several simple moves you can make which will have your cash working better for you as well as for the environment.

Understand What ‘Clean Money’ Means

To put it simply, the money in our bank account isn’t just sitting there with our name on it. It’s used by your bank to invest in all types of projects and organisations—and our banks have a choice on whether they lend to industries that create a better planet, through projects like renewable energy and affordable housing, or harmful industries like fossil fuels or live animal exports. Would you be shook to learn your bank is funding industries that go against your values? Same here. 

Research is key regardless of whether you’re looking to invest with a clean bank, or move your retirement fund to a clean super. Look past marketing terms such as ‘ethical’, ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’, and instead take a look at the institution's policies as well as the actions they’re taking.

Choose A Clean Bank

You might be the eco-amateur whose efforts extend to making sure you turn the lights off when you leave a room, or maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum, only eating once the fruit has naturally fallen from the tree. Regardless, much of your efforts could be going to waste if your money is with a bank that supports industries the self-proclaimed greenie in us all would whole-heartedly object to. 

There are some alarming facts and figures out there, like several of our banks supporting nuclear weapon production, while other Australian financial institutions have collectively lent around $70 billion dollars to fossil fuel projects just in the last ten years. The good news is that now, more than ever, there is far more transparency on who is doing what. There are many independent not-for-profit organisations that track who banks lend their money to like Market Forces, who will help you select a bank that better aligns with your interests.

Choose A Clean Super

Consider that a good chunk of Australia’s population, which is around 25 million, have super. Then, consider if all of those individuals moved their super over to an ethical fund. Collectively, we have the power to make some big changes for our future and for generations to come.

Like selecting a clean bank, the same rules apply with super. Your values may lie in renewable energy, sustainable water or a more responsible medical industry, regardless, there are plenty of funds out there which invest only in ethical initiatives. 

In 2020, comprehensive resources are in abundance. Those wanting to deep dive into super funds which align with your specific interests and values can do so here, you can also check out which organisations are blocking climate change action—which should help you whittle down that list very quickly.

Want to know how climate-conscious your bank is? Take a look here.

Image credit: Wes Hicks

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