1M MAKING MY MONEY COUNT
Women can wield a lot of power with our money. But first we need to ensure that our financial institutions that we trust with our money are aligned with our values. Our financial decisions and choices can help to shape the kind of world we want to live in.
Here are some key things you should consider:
• The big one for climate change: Will your money be used to support fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas in any way?
• Followed by: Beyond fossil fuels, is any other environmentally damaging process involved?
• Don't stop there: Ask plenty of questions. Is it ethical and socially equitable, including gender equity and respect for diversity, workplace health and safety, fair trade and more?
Which banks or super funds fit with my values?
Here's a simple checklist to make sure your money is working for the good of people and the planet as well as for your own financial well-being.
Action 1: Ask the question. Is my bank/ superfund lending to or investing in industries that don't match my values?
Action 2: Find out the answer. Call your bank or fund, and ask them directly – they need to know that people like you care. Ask them about their ethical, responsible or sustainable policies. Ask them if they invest in the fossil-fuel industry.
Action 3: Take decisive steps based on what you find out, with the addition of independent and expert financial advice wherever you require it (such as checking whether you'll face exit fees or other penalties for leaving, as well as assessing the performance of your potential new bank or fund). Your menu of actions can include switching to a new bank or superfund yourself, telling your employer that you want to move your superfund (and why), or staying where you are if you like what you've found out.
Once you've done the research and found out the answers, if switching your bank or fund is the right decision it may be easier than you think. Often your new one will do most of the work for you.
Action 4: Tell your old bank or fund why you've left them and, ideally, tell your new one why you're joining them. The old one needs to know why people are rejecting them, and the new one should know that its attention to being more ethical is being recognised and rewarded by people like you.
Action 5: Share what you've done with the world, your family, friends and networks. It will get others thinking about their money, too!
Check out our wonderful partners who ensure our money isn't used to fund the climate crisis!
Today in Australia, money held in superannuation totals over $3.5 trillion. The pool of money is so large, that by 2030 it's predicted that superannuation will own half of all the shares in companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Yet, today most of that money is being invested without significant environmental or social consideration - most funds are still investing in oil, gas and coal companies and the banks that fund their expansion.
If we are to drive a transition to renewables and away from fossil fuels, then we simply must ensure that our superannuation wealth is invested in the industries of the future, and not funding new fossil fuel projects.
At Verve, our mission is to support women to build wealth and to invest that wealth in a better world. We do this through supporting women to not only invest ethically, but also to learn about money through a supportive community.
Verve Super provides a superannuation option that is ethically screened, does not invest in fossil fuels and instead focuses on investments in healthcare, women's focused businesses, technology, agriculture and more. And Verve Money is an investing app that allows women to invest their wealth outside of super in a similar ethical way.
At Verve, we truly believe that by getting more money in the hands of women, that we can change the world.
Verve's investment objective is to seek investment returns by making investments which seek to contribute towards a future which is sustainable and equitable, with thriving communities and a healthy planet. Our baseline negative screen rules out any direct investment in companies and assets which derive direct revenue from the mining, extraction and burning of fossil fuels (i.e. coal, oil and gas). In relation to indirect exposure to fossil fuels, the negative screen removes companies which provide products, services or finance specific to and significant for the fossil fuel industry.
We often forget about the ways that we are indirectly supporting the fossil fuel industry. We switched over to Bank Australia so that we know for sure that our money is going towards good things.
What makes Bank Australia different from the other banks?
Bank Australia is one of Australia's few customer-owned banks.
- Being customer owned means they don't have shareholders, so they're able to deliver better rates and fees to their customers and invest in the positive social and environmental projects that customers believe in. Basically, each Bank Australia customer is a shareholder, which means that customers have a real say in how the bank is run, including a vote on directors' salaries and a say in where the bank invests profits.
- They offer all the products and services expected of a bank while providing Australians with an ethical choice for where they put their money.
What does Bank Australia do to make the world a better place?
Bank Australia believe they have a responsibility to people, the planet and to prosperity. They are working to create a healthier planet by refusing to lend money to the fossil fuel industry, including coal and coal seam gas projects. They've also committed to switching to 100% renewable electricity by 2020, and have been carbon neutral since 2011. On top of all that, they run their own Conservation Reserve - a world-first for a bank - where they plant trees and protect the habitat of 13 threatened species.
Bank Australia are also working to close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians through their Reconciliation Action Plan. This includes providing scholarships and supporting the CSIRO's science pathways for Indigenous Communities program which pairs communities' Indigenous ecological knowledge with Western science to teach students about the local environment.
[Pictured: Bank Australia at our 1MW LoveEarth festival in 2019]