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Over five years, the average UK fund rose 37 per cent but the ethical UK funds went up by 47 per cent. Over one year, the average UK fund fell 1 per cent while ethical funds were up nearly 3 per cent. Becoming an 'ethical' or 'sustainable' investor is more complicated than buying a reusable metal straw or switching to renewable energy.

Many investment funds claim to be 'sustainable' or 'ethical', but there is no official definition of what that actually means. Triodos' Pioneer Impact Fund has large holdings in solar and wind energy projects.

Whitni Thomas, head of investor relations at ethical bank Triodos, says there is a problem with 'greenwashing' — where some funds simply pay lip service to environmental and ethical criteria. She says: 'There are a number of funds being badged as 'green', 'sustainable' or 'environmental', but when you look closer you might think, 'That isn't at all what I thought I was getting'. Ditchfield highlights the fact that many of the leading ethically badged funds simply invest in large companies with what they deem the worst filtered out.

He says: 'That's not what most people think of when they consider sustainable investing. Interactive Investor, the investment platform, has decided to act to improve information for investors in this area by applying its own classifications to the funds that claim green credentials. Interactive Investor's Moira O'Neill says: 'Our objective is to cater to a growing number of investors seeking to invest for good by providing a menu of high-quality ethical choices.

The three categories are badged as 'exclude' — those funds that simply exclude specific types of company when making up a portfolio such as tobacco or oil; 'consider' — those that take in to consideration the ethical practice of companies when selecting them; and 'embrace' — those that actively invest in companies that are delivering positive environmental and social results.

There is some Europe-wide work underway looking at enforcing the use of categories for sustainable funds, but until this has developed further the onus is really on investors to do their own homework in the hunt for investments that meet their sustainability aims. Good With Money's Stanley suggests aiming for a portfolio that makes a positive contribution to the planet, rather than just picking one that essentially tries to 'do no harm'. She says: 'The options for the investor wanting to use their money to make a positive impact on climate change are far more varied than simply avoiding fossil fuels or investing in clean energy and is a practical proposition if you know where to look.

Investing in individual stocks and shares that set out to help the planet can be tricky as one person's ethical is another investor's no-no. There is a specific stock market index — FTSE4Good — which claims to only track the performance of ethical companies. But there are some individual companies that are listed on the stock market that are benefiting from the groundswell towards a more sustainable future. These include Smurfit Kappa, a big player in the paper packaging industry that is creating sustainable solutions to replace plastic trays and films.

Others include Macquarie AB Dynamics, an engineering firm pioneering technology for use in battery-operated electric vehicles and Greencoat UK Wind, a listed renewable infrastructure fund. As the variety of individual shares shows, it can be hard to devise a portfolio on your own. An easier way to get a broad exposure to companies with sustainable characteristics is via a fund that will diversify your money for you across many different stocks and shares. Among those featuring on the broker Interactive Investor's 'embrace' list is the Impax Asian Environmental Markets fund, which it classes as a fund for adventurous investors.

The fund has a positive impact calculator, showing how much good its investments are doing in the world, and a number of external environmental awards. It likes the fact it has a bespoke impact reporting app — keeping you informed of the efforts being made by the underlying companies.

Sustainable banking group Triodos opens up the opportunity of investing in smaller sustainable companies via its Pioneer Impact Fund. This has large holdings in solar and wind energy projects. Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. With the holiday season amount us, many "eco curious" clients have expressed confusion as to what it means to live green during the holidays.

Green Day - Wake Me Up When September Ends - [HQ]

Holidays are can be a great kick off or focal point for going green. It's a graceful way of learning that a sustainable lifestyle is not an all or nothing approach. And yet, each eco action you take on behalf of the environment does make a difference.

What is important is that each person finds the unique value in sustainability and its application in their life. Don't flush your cash Toilets are the top source of indoor water use for a home. In the law, they were mandated to a max of 1. Older ones can use from 3. Hang drapes to help block drafts from where the window meets the frame. Spritz spray cleaner on cloth, not surfaces. Running a full dishwasher uses half the water and energy — or less — of washing the same dishes by hand.

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Now available as direct replacement bulbs, they can use about half the energy that CFLs do, and last about four times as long — in some cases, 25 years! Doing this can improve mileage by about 3 percent. Stop brown-bagging it literally and wasting paper when you pack lunch. The L.

1. Witness the Northern Lights in Norway

Bean Flip-Top Lunch Box plus some ice packs keeps contents nice and cool. Pocket up to 25 cents for every laundry load you wash in cold water versus hot. Install motion sensors that turn lights on when you walk in and off when motion is no longer detected. Not in the budget to replace your toilets? Take leave of your leaf blower Using a gas-powered leaf blower for one hour can emit the same amount of carbon monoxide as driving a car miles, and can spew 11 times the exhaust particles.

Electric blowers are less polluting. If every GH reader raked instead, 6. My quick, cheap fix: A threshold draft blocker, made of two foam rolls connected by a piece of fabric. You slide it under the door to keep cold air out and your heat from escaping. Lana Smith. Inspect weather stripping around exterior doors. Old, cracked, or gone? Replace it to reduce heat loss. On an electric stove , use a pan that matches the burner size. Putting a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner wastes 40 percent of the energy because the heat dissipates into the air.

If you switch them off when leaving home or before bed, you'll end energy leakage, pronto. Since legislation, all new showerheads must have a flow rate of 2.

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Fix dripping faucets A drop per second wastes gallons per month! First, try tightening all fittings a quarter to half a turn. No luck? The gaskets or O-rings might be worn out. To check, the faucet will need to be taken apart, so for best results, consult a plumber.

Churches Knocking on Doors, to Talk About the Environment - The New York Times

Replacing a pre refrigerator with a new Energy Star one saves enough energy to light an average house for nearly four months. A new oxygen sensor alone can improve mileage by as much as 15 percent. Instead, follow the markings as directed on the label. Check for toilet leaks Open the tank and drop in enough food coloring so that the water tints. Flush dye, then replace worn-out parts or get a pro to do the dirty work for you.

Improve the seal of interior doors like the one to the garage by attaching a sweep. Sold at hardware stores, these flexible plastic strips are easily screwed to door bottoms, and keep cold air out from below. April THEN — Daily cooking produces grease, smoke, and odors that can cause eye and nose irritation. To remove cooking pollutants, a ceiling or a wall exhaust fan and two types of range hoods — vented and ventless — are available.

NOW — Still good advice, with one caveat: Choose a hood that vents to the outside, if you can.

Hot in a cool country

Wrap an insulation blanket around your water heater and lower its running cost as much as 9 percent. Monica Buck. Apply both interior and exterior caulking to fill gaps around window frames. If cold air is coming in around the sashes, impacting your heating, install appropriate weather stripping. DIY energy audit Preventing drafts around windows, doors, and other openings in your home fireplaces, attic hatches, even electrical outlets can decrease a heating bill by 5 to 30 percent.

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Pinpoint the problem yourself and skip hiring a costly professional energy auditor with a thermal leak detector. This special thermometer takes infrared temperature readings: Aim it at a reference point like the wall , pull the trigger to take a reading, then do the same along the window frame or another opening. Don't tap out Teach children to turn off the water while brushing their teeth. Leaving the tap running during the recommended two minutes of brushing can waste up to five gallons of water a day. Leaving the warmer on for an hour a day adds up.

Getty Images. Bring home superhero plants. Certain easy-care greens English ivy, mums, and peace lilies naturally help remove indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene. With relatively small habit changes, you can save up to 20 percent. Give up meat?! No, not for good. But each time you replace a meat meal with a veggie one, you save at least 2. Get tasty meatless dishes!

Count how many you have! Look for the WaterSense logo on toilets and faucets and eventually showerheads , which means the item meets EPA water-saving criteria. Magnetic register covers are a good fix. Smoke out cold-air leaks using a stick of incense. With the stick smoldering, move it toward the edge of windows and doors.