You may be surprised to hear that how we manage our money can be one of the most useful and impactful environmental things we as individuals can do.  COP26 have made ‘greening finance’ one of the fundamental goals for the conference this November.  In this article we will try to explain why greening your money is so important and what we can practically do to create change.

The Treehouse Gang.

#011 - Greening your money

The UK’s biggest lenders; HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest have made some ambitious statements about their commitment to reducing carbon emissions however looking at the figures of where the money goes, campaigners await this rhetoric to be put into reality.

We can create change by choosing who we bank with.  Thankfully there are plenty of alternatives, providing reliable and practical banking options.

So who are the most ethical banks and how do you switch?

Triodos - top of the list, Triodos only finances projects based on their social, environmental or cultural impact. The service offered may not be as user friendly as high street banking - but they are ethically and environmentally sound.

Building societies such as Nationwide are more ethical than high street banks because they have stringent regulations that limit the amount they can invest in certain industries. Also it's worth noting that profits of building societies go back into the business and not to shareholders. This along with their competitive interest rates and current account offers makes a great high street choice.

Challenger banks - new app-based banks like Monzo are, for the moment at least, a good ethical alternative as they do not currently make large corporate loans or investments.  (However it is possible that they may do so in the future and have not made any commitment to say they will not).  They often offer excellent current accounts and innovative, useful apps which make keeping track of your money really easy.

For those worried about swapping over to a more ethical bank,  there is a national scheme that helps us to do this for free, without hassle, and without losing access to your money. 

As well as high street banking, it may also be that your pension could also be greener.  Whilst many UK providers are working towards a ‘net zero’ position in terms of carbon emissions linked to their default investment portfolios, most employers will offer an ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’ fund, and research indicates that moving a £100,000 pension pot from a traditional to a positive impact portfolio is equivalent to taking 5 or 6 cars off the road (Financial Times, 26 Feb 2021).

Accessing your options and making a switch should be an extremely easy thing to do. Your employer or pension provider will be able to provide a full list of the investment options available and look out for an ‘Ethical’ or ‘Sustainable’ Growth (ESG) fund option.  From there you can instruct your provider to move some,or all, of your existing and future contributions to the new fund, and they will do the rest.

Habit, lack of awareness and a perceived inability to change the ‘bigger picture’ keeps us tied to systems which are both corrupt and environmentally disastrous.  But knowledge is power and if enough of us made the change we could see a really positive shift in the future of these corporate machines.

Further Links:

  • The 12 days of COP challenge gives loads more info on greening your money.
  • Here is the list of the Top 5 Ethical Bank Accounts by Good with Money.
  • Switching banks - 75% of people however have never switched banks. This scheme uses a standardised 7-day switch guarantee – so you basically just fill out the forms and the rest is done automatically. 


  • 11th September - The count down has begun to the opening of Macclesfields first ever Repair Cafe this Saturday at 10am! 
  • 12th September - the tenth successive year for this event, the Bollington Bikefest.
  • 18th September  - Macclesfield Green Fest, Christ Church, Bridge Street, Macclesfield (10am - 4pm). The event will focus around local businesses, Eco Groups (inc The Treehouse) and those with greener initiatives.
  • 18th September  - World Clean Up Day. You can borrow litter pickers from Scoop & Scales in Macclesfield.
  • From 13th OctoberWilmslow's Festival of Nature, a load of different exciting events including music, bike festivals, guided walks and more.
  • Prestbury Co-op has become the latest Co-op to have a soft plastic recycling unit for what were previously single-use packets and wrappers.


Please share this newsletter with family and friends. If you not already subscribed, click here and you can also view past issues of the newsletter here. If you'd like to help bring The Treehouse to life please get in touch. We are looking for people who'd either like to pitch in with the development of our plan and strategy, or to help organise actions and events to build momentum in the area.
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Treehouse Ecohub · 20 Hurst Lane · Bollington · Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 5LP · United Kingdom

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