From cycling more to buying local produce, many people are trying to live in a more environmentally friendly way. “[Sustainability] is a big part of today’s lifestyle, especially among millennials and gen Z,” says Gabriele Musella, 37, a fintech entrepreneur. “For me, it basically means putting my money where my mouth is,” he adds.
Research has consistently shown that tackling the climate crisis is a top concern for both generations. So it makes sense that many people are now also thinking about “green investing” – that is, investing with banks and financial companies that support environmentally friendly products and projects.
Enter Green Savings Bonds, a new financial product supporting not just one green project, but a raft of measures to help reach the UK’s net zero target.
Britain’s green transformation
In recent years, the idea of a green revolution, which could power economic growth around the world, has moved from talk to action. In the summer, the UK government announced a £15bn green finance plan to help accelerate Britain’s transition to a greener economy and create more green jobs through gilt markets.
In addition to this, people will be given the chance to buy Green Savings Bonds, a new product available through NS&I, which will give people the chance to support the government’s green projects, while receiving a fixed rate of 0.65% gross/AER pa* on their savings over a three-year term.
“Our world-first Green Savings Bonds give savers across the UK the chance to back the government’s green projects and put their money to work in the fight against climate change,” said chancellor Rishi Sunak.
“The UK is already a world leader in green finance and these innovative new savings bonds will deliver both financial returns and environmental benefits, in a transparent and secure way.”
Who will buy them?
The bonds are now on sale and will be available for a minimum of three months to anyone over 16 with a minimum starting amount of £100 and a maximum of £100,000 per person. It’s thought the new bonds could have particular appeal to a younger demographic of environmentally conscious investors as well as existing savers.
It is said often enough that millennials – typically defined as those born between 1981 and 1996 – don’t have the best track record when it comes to saving, though there is evidence that their savings habits may be better than their reputation suggests, and that the pandemic only strengthened these habits.
“I started investing in green and socially responsible products only about three years ago,” says Musella. “In 2021 I became vegetarian to limit my [environmental] footprint and pledged to only invest in projects and assets with a wider social impact. Before that, I didn’t invest much but I was always involved in environmental activity.”
Sally Brown, who is 36 and works in communications, feels the same. “I’m not particularly money motivated, and I’ve had a tendency to not take enough interest in things like my pension and other long-term savings and investments,” she says.
“But one thing I am quite motivated by is figuring out how I can lessen my impact on the environment, in ways that are easy to do and sustainable in the long-term. I realised I could deal with both in one go by setting up investments that support green companies.”
Where will the money go?
When you purchase Green Savings Bonds your funds will be held by HM Treasury to be put towards government projects that help to meet the UK’s net zero target, such as making transport cleaner, renewable energy, preventing pollution, and adapting to climate change.
This means that buying Green Savings Bonds will help you use your money to do something more for the environment. “I’ve recently been learning about how much we can help by switching our investments to green and more ethical funds,” says 33-year-old Danielle Heward, founder of business consultancy DH Professional Solutions.
“It gives me peace of mind to know I’m contributing to a better world for future generations by doing something so simple,” she says.
Jill Waters, NS&I retail director says: “By investing in Green Savings Bonds you’re not only getting a guaranteed return on your investment after three years, but you will be contributing towards supporting six key areas in the UK such as preventing pollution and protecting natural resources.”
“Climate action is really important to me – and I think green investments are definitely becoming more popular because people are aware of the impact they can have,” says Heward. “I think it’s vital that this continues if we want to move towards a more sustainable way of life.”
In the future, it could even become the only way that future generations want to invest. “At this stage, it’s green or nothing,” says Musella. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Find out more at nsandi.com
1 AER stands for Annual Equivalent Rate and enables the comparison of interest rates from different financial institutions and across different products on a like-for-like basis. It shows what the notional annual rate would be if interest was compounded each time it was credited or paid out. Where interest is credited once a year, the rate quoted and the AER will be the same.
2 Gross is the taxable rate of interest without the deduction of UK income tax