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Many of us think that living sustainably can be expensive, but you can help the environment without having to spend a penny. In fact, how we save, invest and spend our money has a huge impact on our carbon footprint, often without us even realising it.
As savers, consumers and pension holders we can influence the future through our investments, letting our money do the work for us. Not only will shifting your savings, current account, pension or investments have a huge impact on your carbon footprint, but it also sends a strong message to the financial markets that things need to change.
1. Power to your pension
Did you know that greening your pension is 21 x more effective at reducing your carbon footprint than giving up flying, going veggie and switching energy provider combined? It shocked us too!
Each year, the average UK pension member unknowingly finances 23 tonnes of CO2 emissions through the businesses their pension invests in. There’s £3 trillion in UK pensions – imagine the impact this could have if it was invested in renewable energy, community projects or ethical companies? Pensions aren’t something that most of us control directly so to get started, have a look at Make Your Money Matter’s resources on how to talk to your employer about the impact of your pension.
2. Support your local
Shopping locally helps boost the local economy, reduces the distance your items have travelled, and protects local jobs. Have a look at labels to see where the things you’re buying were produced, and if you can, opt for locally produced food, clothing and items. Check out this list of independent shops, craft and farmers markets you can support in Manchester.
3. Move your money
Not all banks are created equal. In fact, your bank may be investing your money in fossil fuel companies, arms, tobacco and more. The good news is that switching banks is pretty straightforward and allows you to use your money to support causes you believe in. There's a growing number of ethical alternatives out there, allowing you to choose to use your money to support causes you believe in - see how your bank is performing here.
4. Purpose over profit
Finding it hard to tell a green brand from a greenwashing brand? Look out for respected accreditations such as Fairtrade, Soil Association or B Corp. (check out the growing number of UK B Corps here).
This article by the BBC on Why your banking habits matter for the climate
This video from Reuters that explains why pension funds are such big investors into fossil fuel companies, whether you have any control over where your money ends up, and is investing in renewables even an option?
To this podcast by Outrage + Optimism featuring activist and filmmaker Richard Curtis, to hear about Make Money Matter and the importance of pensions.