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We all want to get more from our money, but what if we could pair that with doing good? Good Money Week is all about ensuring just that, by raising awareness of the sustainable and ethical options available when it comes to managing your money, ideally leading to better returns as well as a sense of goodwill.
Make money and make a difference – that's the tagline of Good Money Week. The campaign, which this year takes place between 8 and 14 October 2017, is designed "to help grow and raise awareness of sustainable, responsible and ethical finance", highlighting the benefits of sustainable investments in the process and ensuring that we can all have "a positive impact on the environment and society without sacrificing wealth".
And it makes a lot of sense. Being able to protect the environment and support society while at the same time growing our money has got to be the Holy Grail of investing, and it could well pay off: our own figures show that ethical investments outperform mainstream funds the majority of the time, posting average growth of 16.8% over the last year compared with 15.2% from the average non-ethical fund.
Even if you're not comfortable with full-on investing, there are still ways in which you can make your cash savings more ethical. Rachel Springall, finance expert at moneyfacts.co.uk, points out that "there are alternatives to saving that can help you feel more positive about investing your cash, such as with a more ethical brand".
One such brand is Triodos. This bank shows its customers how deposited funds support community projects, and its own study shows that consumers are more likely to switch to a brand where their cash can make a positive impact. Not only that, but two-thirds (64%) of investors say they'd like their money to support companies that are profitable and at the same time make a positive contribution to society and the environment, which makes ethical investing of growing importance.
"As consumers become savvier with their cash, they may well want to know exactly where profits are being spent", said Rachel, so it's clear that Triodos is onto something. Right now, the bank's Online Saver Plus account pays 0.65%, and although it isn't the best rate in the market, it's still more than the average easy access rate of 0.40% – and significantly higher than many mainstream brands, with NatWest's offering (for example) clocking in at just 0.01%.
Then there's the option of heading to mutuals, rather than banks. Rachel explains: "Unlike many of the high street banks, building societies could offer better savings potential because of their principles to give customers a reasonable deal.
"There is also the case of trust, and consumers might trust mutuals more than unfamiliar brands. For example, RCI Bank UK may pay the best easy access rate of 1.30% with its Freedom Savings Account, but at the same time, West Brom BS sits in the Best Buys too with a rate of 1.20%. Given that the latter is more of a well-known brand, many could be tempted to opt for familiarity over rate, particularly as there's just a 0.1% difference.
"Savers looking to use their ISA allowance will also find some decent rates from mutuals, with Leeds BS in particular paying great rates, especially on its one and two-year fixed rate ISAs paying 1.35% and 1.50% respectively."
So, the next time you're thinking of switching up your investments or cash savings accounts, why not think ethically? Not only could you benefit from some great returns, but you'll be doing your bit for the environment and society in the process – a sustainable win-win.
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