Making money while helping the planet

It's possible to make money and help the planet at the same time. Here's how.

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The number of Australians investing in socially and environmentally conscious ventures is increasing and not just because they want to save the planet but because it’s another way of making money.

A recent report found that ethical investment funds are outperforming mainstream ones.

This means that choosing where you invest isn’t just a moral or values-driven choice – it’s a smart choice.

So if you’re ready to give back, do good things for the planet, people or animals, and save more, but need a little more incentive, here’s what you should be asking yourself.

Where is your money being invested?

For most of us, super is likely to be one of our largest investments.

When you think about your investment nest egg, don’t you think it’s important to know what your money is supporting?

In Australia, institutions like banks, credit unions and super funds all invest your money, in some way or another.

But how often do you think about what they’re investing in?

Does your current super fund invest in companies that are involved in, or support, oil, tobacco, gambling or coal seam gas?

If so, are you really comfortable with this? It’s important to understand where your money is invested, and then look closely at your own beliefs to consider why you’re investing with those money managers.

Once you know, you can’t not know! And you can then make the right decision to either stay where you are, or switch to a super fund that aligns better with your values.

On that note…What are your provider’s values?

Often we sign up with super funds that our workplaces suggest. It’s called the default super option.

Or you might sign up with the banks that your family has always been with.

This might seem like an easy way to look after your money, but is it the best way? Here’s what to ask yourself:

  • Does your super fund talk about the environmental impact they have on the planet and the people living on it?
  • Do they disclose where they invest your money? Or the strategies they use?

Transparency and honesty is key in the decision making. This is when you need to ask yourself, what do you really care about?

The word ‘ethical’ can mean different things to different people.

You might care deeply about climate change, human rights and animal welfare.

Or you may be passionate about supporting innovative technology, education and healthcare.

Perhaps you’re simply against tobacco, fossil fuels, and gambling? Maybe it’s all of the above!

Whatever rocks your boat, investing ethically is about integrating environmental and social factors into your decisions.

Thankfully, the financial benefits of this are clear, and I believe it will become clearer in the future as the world moves towards a cleaner, better tomorrow.

So have a think about what you care about and whether your values and beliefs align with where your super nest egg is, and whether it’s currently doing good things, or bad things, to the planet, people and animals.

Do some research, make a few lists, chat with friends and family, and call your super fund.

You might be disturbed to find out what you’re unintentionally supporting.

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