When you deposit money in the bank, the financial institution will take it and invest it on your behalf. If you spend your day ensuring all your purchases are organic, anti-sweatshop and cruelty-free, it may be frustrating to have little to no idea whether your money is being invested in areas you feel uncomfortable about. However, with a little time and effort, it is possible to spend, save and invest in a way that is far more socially responsible.
Consider switching banks
If you have an account with one of the major banking chains, there is likely little you can do to change the way it operates. You can, however, switch to one of a growing number of smaller banks that operate as non-profits and provide far greater transparency about how your money is placed on deposit. You could also consider switching to a credit union where all the money is kept within your local community, and you may even have the opportunity to help to choose where deposits are made.
Be selective about where you spend
Research shows that consumers in general and millennials in particular are increasingly preferring to do business with corporations and brands that have ethical business standards, employ sustainable manufacturing processes and have pro-social corporate philosophies. The growth of this kind of thinking means it is now easier than ever to confine most of your spending to those firms that meet key criteria.
The four main qualities possessed by socially responsible companies is that they have invested in the betterment of society in a bid to solve social problems; that “making an impact on the world” is a major priority, they are open and honest about their businesses practices, and finally, they give back to the community, either in terms of time or money or both.
Choose your investments with care
It used to be the case that few people cared about where their money was being invested, just so long as the returns were good. When the first concerns about the business practices of some firms emerged, the main argument against a more sustainable investment policy was that such stocks simply did not perform as well as more traditional investment.
This is no longer the case. With the amount of money being poured into sustainable investment having increased by more than $2 trillion in the past two years, historical data now shows that your money will perform every bit as well as it would in traditional stock funds.
There are also new and emerging ways to make the kind of investments that let you sleep sounds at night. Make an investment through peer to peer lending and make a solid return; you are also directly assisting entrepreneurs in bringing new products and services to the market.
Many companies involved in this form of lending will provide an opportunity for you to decide exactly which enterprises you want to invest in, so you can ensure your money only goes to those who reach your personal ethical standards.