Ethical & Sustainable Investment

Comparing Europe's greenest bank accounts

When most people think about sustainability and being ethical, their first thought probably does not go to banking. However, in the 21st century you can become more sustainable by simply switching your bank. There are ethical banks out there, no doubt! They might not be saints, but rather the ones that are not outright evil, but that is still something, right? It's pretty hard for us to know exactly what happens to our money when it is held by banks, hidden from our view. In this day and age, it is increasingly important to make more consciously ethical and sustainable choices - one example of that is doing your research on how your bank's strategy coincides with your point of view.

Is it utopian to think that advanced capitalism can co-exist with thoughts about the future of
                 Earth and other individuals around you?

What do banks actually do with your money?

All of the money that is put into bank accounts and savings accounts is then invested into different things. This means that although we are able to withdraw our money at any time we wish, we could be unwillingly putting our money into something we do not agree with.

A lot of banks will use savings accounts money to invest in low-risk activities like oil drilling, arms and military, and fracking. They won’t disclose this information when you open your account, so it is important that you do some research to find out whether they do, if you don’t want to be involved in that.

Balancing your concerns for the future of the planet and profit motives can sometimes prove challenging

How do you know what banks are ethical?

If you are trying to find an ethical bank account then the best thing to do is do your research. Find out what the bank you are looking into invests in and that the bank pays its taxes. An ethical bank won’t invest in the following:

  • Fossil fuels, arctic drilling, mining, coal power, tar sands, and fracking
  • Funding armed conflicts or investing in military suppliers
  • Businesses that use slave or child labor somewhere in their supply chain
  • Promoting alcohol, tobacco consumption or gambling

Find out if they have any sustainable and responsible banking practices and if they recognise climate change and what actions they are taking to combat that.

Our selection of the most ethical and sustainable banks

Below are some of the best banks available that not only encourage ethical behaviour, but also invest in sustainable projects, while being completely transparent in the terms and conditions offered. It's a tough call, but we've found some great options for you to consider!

Tomorrow

Tomorrow represents the future of banking with a focus on being transparent, digital and sustainable. Instead of focusing purely on profits the bank is instead committed to ethical investments and social equity.

HQ: Hamburg, DE
Founded in: 2018
Users: 90'000+
Deposit protection: Up to €100'000
Website: tomorrow.one
Personal plans: ✔️
Starting at €3,00 per month
 
Business plans:
Currencies: EUR
Shared accounts: ✔️
Student accounts:
Support: Phone, chat, email
Sign-up bonus: N/A
HQ: Hamburg, DE
Founded in: 2018
Users: 90'000+
Deposit protection: Up to €100'000
Support: Phone, chat, email
Sign-up bonus: N/A
Website: tomorrow.one
Personal plans: ✔️
Starting at €3,00 per month
Business plans:
Shared accounts: ✔️
Student accounts:
Currencies: EUR

Tomorrow is a great choice if you’re looking for a sustainable banking option that also provides a modern and intuitive mobile-first experience. You can also automatically offset your carbon footprint as well as order a bank card made of wood!


bunq

An up-and-coming Dutch neobank that focuses on ethical investment options, giving their users an option to choose how their money get invested. bunq also planted over 2 million trees as part of their green initiative. Powerful Open API and colorful cards - what's not to like?

HQ: Amsterdam, NL
Founded in: 2015
Users: 2'300'000+
Deposit protection: Up to €100'000
Website: bunq.com
Personal plans: ✔️
Starting at €2,99 per month
 
Business plans: ✔️
Starting at €4,99 per month
Currencies: EUR, USD, GBP, BGN, PLN, CHF
Shared accounts: ✔️
Student accounts:
Support: Chat, email
Sign-up bonus: 30 days free trial
HQ: Amsterdam, NL
Founded in: 2015
Users: 2'300'000+
Deposit protection: Up to €100'000
Support: Chat, email
Sign-up bonus: 30 days free trial
Website: bunq.com
Personal plans: ✔️
Starting at €2,99 per month
Business plans: ✔️
Starting at €4,99 per month
Shared accounts: ✔️
Student accounts:
Currencies: EUR, USD, GBP, BGN, PLN, CHF

Who says banking can not be fun? Netherland's latest fintech unicorn, Amsterdam-based neobank called bunq is a progressive bank founded in 2012 that never stopped growing rapidly ever since. The company behind the bank prides itself on being an avid supporter of ethical investment practices, diverse and inclusive workspace and believes that enabling users to be free from financial restrictions should not hurt the environment. bunq also allows its users to choose where to enable the bank to invest their funds. On top of that, bunq's higher tier subscription helps customers offset their CO2 emissions by launching a tree planting scheme where an actual tree is planted by an NGO named "Eden Foundation" for every hundred Euros they spend using a bunq card.

You're never too young to be responsible with your personal finance

Curve

Promising assistance in "taking control of your money with one card and one app" to its users, Curve quickly gained popularity in the UK. Unique product that consolidates all your cards and accounts in one place, while categorizing payments and providing cashback.

HQ: London, UK
Founded in: 2015
Users: 2'000'000+
Deposit protection: Up to €100'000
Website: curve.com
Personal plans: ✔️
Free personal plan available
 
Business plans:
Currencies: GBP
Shared accounts:
Student accounts:
Support: E-mail
Sign-up bonus: N/A
HQ: London, UK
Founded in: 2015
Users: 2'000'000+
Deposit protection: Up to €100'000
Support: E-mail
Sign-up bonus: N/A
Website: curve.com
Personal plans: ✔️
Free personal plan available
Business plans:
Shared accounts:
Student accounts:
Currencies: GBP

Curve is a free mobile banking app that simplifies your life by consolidating all of your credit, debit, and rewards cards into one convenient location. Curve also categorizes payments for you automatically to make it easier to understand where the money goes while offering cash back on select purchases. It is an app that has been specifically designed to help users consolidate all of their cards and bank accounts in one place, as well as offering cashback on purchases. You can easily contact them via phone or chat with their support team if any questions come up about how they work!

Triodos: Sustainability taken seriously

Triodos is a sustainable bank founded in 1980 that claims to only use assets in ways that benefit the environment and people around the world. They offer current accounts, savings accounts, business accounts, charity banking, and investment management. Triodos does not invest in any fossil fuels or other unsustainable practices like coal mining or fracking. They have their stands for lending criteria outlined in a very straightforward fashion on the website so that everyone knows exactly where their assets are invested.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, what is ethical investing? We can define it as the investment that gives the individual the power to allocate capital toward companies whose practices and values align with their personal beliefs. The nature of these can be multi-fold: some beliefs are rooted in environmental, religious, or political precepts. Some investors may choose to eliminate specific industries or over-allocate to other sectors that meet the individual's ethical guidelines.

Whatever bank you decide to go for, it's also important to remember that there's just way more impact in what you do with your money as compared to where you store them. Repairing, reusing, recycling and not making unnecessary purchases would do wonders for the environment, no matter where you bank! But of course, it never hurts to trust your assets to "the good guys" - after all, saving the environment is a matter of hundreds of small steps, rather than a few sweeping monumental actions!

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