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Fashion, Life & Style

Build An Ethical Wardrobe From Scratch #5

ethical-wardrobe

ethical-wardrobe

A short and simple how to build an ethical wardrobe from scratch post today, but one that I’ve personally found really useful to rein in my spending, particularly on the high street.

Work out your hourly rate.

If you don’t get paid on an hourly rate, then work out your hourly rate.  Then when you’re thinking about buying something work out how many hours it would take you to work to buy that item.

For example, I might ask myself is that ‘must have’ pair of boots really worth 6 hours work or could I think of a better investment of my time spent at work?  I find this a particularly effective method to make me really stop and think about an item’s value against my time spent in work.

I find working out my hourly rate also really helps me think why I’m working.  It’s really helped me realise that I’m not at work to be able to buy stuff I don’t really need, but ultimately to provide for my family and have fun experiences with them.  Prioritising experiences over stuff ultimately makes me happier and more fulfilled, and less like I’m chasing the unattainable dream.

ps: posts 1 -4 in this series are available here in case you missed them.

Life & Style, sponsored

AD | Can You Use Your Money For Positive Change?

This is a sponsored post, in association with Triodos Bank

triodos-bank

A recent report from MoveYourMoney found that the “big five” banks – Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC, RBS/NatWest and Santander – have collectively lent more than £66bn to companies around the world engaged in oil and gas extraction. In fact, British banks are one of the biggest lenders to the fossil fuel industry.

As well as the traditional oil and gas industries, these banks also invest in fracking, arms dealing and a whole host of other undesirables. The thing is, when your bank invests in arms companies, or in climate change accelerating industries such as oil, gas, coal or fracking, then it’s not their money that they are investing, it’s your money.

What if you wanted to use your money for good? What if you wanted to use your money for positive change, and wanted to ensure it was invested well, rather than funding climate change? What if you wanted more transparency on where your money is invested?

The thing is, you’re not alone. According to a study from Triodos Bank, 62% of investors said they would like their money to support companies which are profitable and make a positive contribution to society and the environment. Yet 51% have never been offered the option of investing in Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) funds.

It sounds difficult to use your money for good, and it’s easy to feel powerless against the might of the big banks, but actually, as customers, we do indeed have the power to vote with our money and our feet, and take our investment accounts to a more ethical bank.

The good news is that there are a few ethical banks around, striving to make banking more ethical.

One such bank is Triodos Bank, who invest solely in projects that are good for people and the planet, in order to create social, environmental and cultural value in a transparent and sustainable way. From savings and investment through ISAs, to investment in bonds and the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Sustainable Pioneers Fund, Triodos Bank will only invest its customers’ money in companies that provide positive social and environmental impact.

From organic farms, to getting ex-prisoners back into work, to funding new healthcare, technology, energy efficiency and renewables, Triodos has supported well known ethical brands and organisations (such as Neal’s Yard, River Cottage, Riverford Organic and Ecotricity). And uniquely amongst the banking sector, Triodos Bank provides total transparency around where their customers’ money goes.

The SRI Sustainable Pioneers Fund, for example, is one of the funds available to invest in with Triodos. It is a global equities fund investing in leading innovative and pioneering listed companies. Triodos specially select small and medium-sized listed companies – for example, leading wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, medical equipment manufacturer, Smith and Nephew and bicycle manufacturer Shimano.

Of course, it’s important to remember that with SRI funds, capital is at risk and the value of an investment can fall as well as rise – meaning income is variable and individuals may get back less than invested. They do, however, offer an opportunity to invest in something you believe in; all companies selected by Triodos Bank are focused on the sustainable themes of climate protection, healthy living, clean planet or are pioneers in corporate social responsibility.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if all banks chose to invest responsibly, as in this manner? Can you imagine the impact if even a small percentage of the £5.7 trillion invested in funds every year goes into Socially Responsible Investment funds? Let’s hope we can bring this change about.

For more information on Socially Responsible Investment funds do visit the Triodos website for more information or pay them a visit on Twitter or Facebook.

This blog post aims to provide individuals with information to help them make an informed investment decision and is not personal financial advice.