Guest Post – The collective power of money: why investing sustainably is good for your finances (and the climate)
Germans are often described as world champions in saving. If you look at the statistics, this stereotype doesn’t come out of anywhere. In 2019, a German private household had an average of €27,600 in savings. While this may sound reasonable at first glance, it is not necessarily so.
Here are 3 reasons why it doesn’t make sense to keep your money in your savings account – but invest it sustainably instead.
#1: We’re in a period of low interest rates
We are currently in a period of low interest rates. Interest rates are so low right now that they are even being outpaced by inflation! Therefore, if you put your money in a savings account for five years, you would be able to buy less with that money after the five years, compared to today.
This means that, from a financial perspective alone, you are better off investing your money instead of keeping it in your savings account.
#2: Sustainable investing outperforms
One of the initial criticisms of sustainable investing (and a common myth) is that it doesn’t yield the same returns as traditional investments that only consider risk & return. However, more and more investors are now realizing that sustainability is an important aspect that actually secures future returns. The rise in ESG investing is less due to ethical concerns, but more because of the realization that environmental, social and governance factors impact the profitability of your investments.
According to recent insights, average returns and success rates for sustainable funds suggest there is no performance trade-off associated with sustainable investing. In fact, over 10 years, the average annual return for a sustainable fund invested in large global companies has been 6.9% a year, while a traditionally invested fund has made 6.3% a year. But that’s not all: sustainability also has a greater rate of survivorship: 77% of sustainable funds available 10 years ago still exist today, compared with 46% of traditional funds.
Investing sustainably is not just good for the planet, it’s important for your financial future, too – particularly in comparison to keeping money in a savings account. Yet many people are still missing out on profits: Germans could theoretically own around half of the companies on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange with the savings in their bank accounts alone (the market capitalization is around 1 trillion euros)! This statistic is alarming not only due to the amount of profits lost in doing so but also due to another reason:
#3: Your bank (most likely) invests your savings in fossil fuels
Most banks use the money in your savings account to invest it in climate-damaging industries. In the five years since the Paris Agreement, the world’s 60 biggest banks have financed fossil fuels to the tune of $3.8 trillion.
According to the new report, ‘Banking on Climate Chaos’, produced by environmental organizations such as Rainforest Action Network and BankTrack, the world’s 60 largest banks have actually increased their investments in fossil fuels since 2016 (the year following the Paris Agreement) instead of decreasing them. In other words, when saving money, you’re actually lending it to your bank which is then often used in a way that facilitates the climate crisis instead of helping to mitigate it.
SOURCE: Banking on Climate Chaos / Rainforest Action Network
Quite shocking, isn’t it? Think of the substantial positive impact that is lost by supplying banks with money, when you could instead use this collective power to fund sustainable companies and projects. On ecoligo, for instance, investors benefit financially from renewable energy projects while at the same time supporting economic development in developing and emerging countries. Cooler Future, on the other hand, enables everyone to invest in climate-friendly companies and grow capital while tracking the carbon footprint of their investments at the same time. There are some exciting, greenwashing-free investment products out there — all you have to do is to look around!
By investing your money mindfully, there’s an opportunity to take control of your finances and let them be a catalyst for positive change. Not only that, but you can earn great returns on sustainable investments too!
This article was written by Cooler Future, a fintech startup offering transparent and effective impact investment solutions for the climate-conscious generation. Their mission is to create a positive climate impact by investing in assets from companies that are actively reducing their carbon footprint. With Cooler Future’s intuitive, easy-to-use mobile app, anyone can track the footprint of their investments, while generating financial returns at the same time.
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