24 Oct 2022

Disclaimer: What follows is not investment advice.


At SoCo, we are ALL about planet-positive decisions; when making a purchase, choosing transport, and eating food - understanding that we need to take the impact on the planet into consideration.

This does not mean that we believe you shouldn’t ever get on a flight again or never eat meat – those choices are for us all as individuals to make. However, what we advocate for is awareness, and movement towards daily positive decisions that benefit both the planet and yourself.

BUT what if we told you there was a simple and easy planet-positive decision you could make, from your chair, right now that could DOUBLE the impact that your positive decisions.

Right here, right now….

It’s who you bank and keep your pension with.

In 2021 Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC and Santander pumped more than $66 BILLION into the fossil fuel industry. They receive the leverage to do this through us – our current accounts, savings and pensions. With the world trying to achieve net-zero by 2050 and desperately trying to pull the world back from the brink of 1.5+ degrees to avoid catastrophic climate change this seems absolutely outrageous.

So, imagine us all having the collective power to pull a significant portion of that money away from those industries and putting it in established, trusted banks and pension providers that refuse to deal in fossil fuels, and sometimes also tobacco and arms. Instead, they invest in renewables and sustainable and/or non-damaging industries. It seems so simple.

In a December 2020 poll it was discovered that 48% of us are hesitant to move banks. Banking and our money is important, we need to feel like our lives and futures are secure.

However, what if we told you that these green banks and pension schemes have been tried and tested; are fully FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme) approved; have current, savings, and pension options; can help towards hugely increasing the positive impact of your decisions.

We spoke to Dan, the founder of MotherTree:

“Many people have no idea that their choice of bank has such an impact on climate change.  

The good news is that consumers have the power to control their own financial investments and that switching to greener accounts might actually help them earn more money in the form of higher interest rates. With switching banks now easier than ever, one of the best things UK consumers could do to reduce their carbon footprint is also one of the easiest!

The UK pensions market was valued at £2.2 trillion in 2019. That means 2 point 2 trillion going to companies chosen by the pension funds.

L&G are the biggest fund manager in the UK, looking after £25 billion in assets.

Where they choose to put their money is going to directly influence the kind of future we have. But do we really have a choice? While I had a pension with L&G, I did some digging, and here’s what I discovered:

My pension was invested in.

  • 1.6% in global mining corporation Rio Tinto (digging up large swathes of Africa), 
  • 1.3% in British American Tobacco (those guys are still in business?!) and worst of all, 
  • 3.5% in oil and gas (Shell and BP).

So despite trying my hardest to live a more environmentally conscious life - I was funding some of the most notorious companies in the world.

But there’s more.

Why had L&G chosen this fund? Well, their job is to grow their pension pots. So the returns on this fund must be good, right?  

And it was, at a 32% return in April 2021 versus April 2020. (For every £1 I had in the fund, I was making £0.32).

Could they justify their choices through better returns versus the green alternatives? I wanted to make sure.

I logged into Hargreaves Lansdown and hunted down the first green fund I could find: Pictet Clean Energy. Their objective of increasing “the value of your investment while seeking to achieve a positive environment and social impact,” was promising. 

And its return across the same time period as the L&G pension? A staggering 61%.  That’s DOUBLE the return on L&G.

So, L&G was making me less money and investing in companies that are worse for the environment.

But there is hope. Once I knew the impact of my pension, I had to switch.

I contacted a ethical wealth manager who helped me navigate the financial advice aspect and moved me to a sustainable pension, so my money has a genuine positive impact on the planet as well as getting me great returns.”

And this is why we are partnering with Dan’s company, MotherTree.

MotherTree provides you with a simple and easy calculator to find out the carbon footprint of your money (current, savings and pensions) and green alternatives which you can switch to TODAY.

For all their sustainability and corporate social responsibility policies and strategies the traditional banking world has a lot to answer for, but with MotherTree’s tools we don’t have to be a part of it any more.

Join us and make the #switchtopositive and join us in a greener more conscientious future.




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