Direct ethical investments allow individuals to create change by playing a part in supporting, often smaller, environmental or social projects. Investments normally take the form of loans or shares of some type, and there is always a risk that you may lose the whole of your investment if the project fails. It is advisable that you seek financial advice before making a large investment. There are now ethical ISA's available for you to be able to invest in some of these projects tax free.
ETHEX, the positive investments website, collates and lists most of the best positive investment opportunities that come up in the UK.
In May 2016, for example, it listed nine renewables projects of which seven were solar arrays and two were hydro schemes. Although it covers more than renewables and looks at savings as well as investments, renewables have been where the bulk of its work has been to date.
One of its great virtues is that that it provides a ‘health check’ of projects before they appear on the site – thus removing extremely risky ones from the mix.
Minimum investment varies from £1 to £2000 depending on which project you invest in, and you can sometimes pay online.
Ethex also runs the Lendahand brand that invests in
Abundance Investment specialises in Uk based renewable energy projects and was the first crowd-funding platform to be regulated by the FCA. Individuals are able to deposit money online and then invest in specific projects according to their preferences. Abundance has recently launched the ability to hold Abundance investments in a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) and investors
can apparently view how much electricity their projects are generating, depending on how windy or sunny it is. Investors from anywhere in Europe can invest in Abundance projects, and you can invest as little as £5 and can complete all transactions online.
Triodos (mentioned above) also run a crowd funding platform allowing you to invest in a range of environmentally sustainable projects.
These are usually long term investments (up to 18 years) with a return of around 5% per annum.
Energy4All is a not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to expanding the number of renewable energy co-operatives within the UK. It is different from the other schemes, in that it is owned by the co-operatives it assists and is a vehicle for them to offer mutual support to each other. It lists current share offers on its website for ethical investors.
Sharenergy is a not-for-profit organisation that helps communities find, build and own renewable energy generation throughout the UK. The website also advertises share offerings for community renewable energy schemes.
Repowering London helps develop community (solar) energy projects in London, periodically listing on its website those that are seeking funding from ethical investors.
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