While we don’t know when the economy will turn around, we can tell you 8 ways to green your money. Whether you are putting cash away for a rainy day (and it seems to be pouring these days), or deciding where to invest funds, you can make smart decisions that can help save the planet, as well as ensure your future. If nothing else can lift your spirits, this should help!
In no particular order, here are our suggested ways to green your money:
1. Invest in green stocks. Whether you are interested in sustainable companies, clean tech, recycling, or specific renewable energy industries (solar, wind or biofuels), you can direct your money to work towards your goals for a greener planet.
2. Invest in green start-ups. You can find tons of resources and suggested companies on Green VC. If nothing else, this may help you jump start your own entrepreneurial ideas.
3. Invest in socially-responsible, eco-friendly mutual funds. Browse Green Century Funds:
“We seek competitive returns while we put your money to work for cleaner air, cleaner water and a healthier planet. We believe that, in the long run, companies that now seek to protect the environment may be more profitable than companies that pollute.”
4. Become a shareholder activist. Not sure what’s involved with such a role? Check out this description from Wikipedia:
“An activist shareholder uses an equity stake in a corporation to put public pressure on its management. The goals of activist shareholders range from financial (increase of shareholder value through changes in corporate policy, financing structure, cost cutting, etc.) to non-financial (disinvestment from particular countries, adoption of environmentally friendly policies, etc.). The attraction of shareholder activism lies in its comparative cheapness; a fairly small stake (less than 10% of outstanding shares) may be enough to launch a successful campaign. In comparison, a full takeover bid is a much more costly and difficult undertaking.”
5. Select an investment advisor to help you with socially-responsible investing. This type of investment strategy seeks to maximize your financial return, as well as the social good.
In general, socially responsible investors favor corporate practices that promote environmental stewardship, consumer protection, human rights, and diversity. Some (but not all) avoid businesses involved in alcohol, tobacco, gambling, weapons, the military, and/or abortion.
6. Find out the companies in which your bank is investing. If it doesn’t match with your priorities and goals, then switch banks! You could be financing climate change, if you’re not wary.
7. Reject receipts whenever possible. At the ATM, inside the bank, etc. Did you know that each year, we generate 8 billion ATM receipts? That is enough to circle the world 1 1/2 times!
8. Go with a “green” bank. Many financial institutions are promoting themselves as eco-friendly, but take a closer look to confirm their claims. Are the branches LEED-certified? Does the bank offer free online bill pay? Do they recycle?
When you green your money, it feels even better than merely becoming a diligent saver, or a wise investor.
What practices have you found helpful for your saving or investment strategies? We’d love to hear about suggested banks or investment firms, as well as start-ups and green companies worth putting money into.