Bank Account, Credit Card, Insurance
To be a holistic sustainable investor, I realized that I must also assess the bank that I use for my savings and checking accounts. I discovered that my bank was using my deposits to lend to projects which including the dirtiest of fossil fuel projects.
The list of ethical banks is short. I chose to join Aspiration bank. Aspiration is an online bank which does not use any deposits for fossil fuel exploration or production, gives 10% of its earnings to charity, and are a certified B Corporation. They offer an interest rate of up to 1% APY, cash back if you use their debit card, and deposits of up to $2 million are FDIC insured. The user experience is pleasant and I appreciate that they offer additional sustainable products (e.g. a mutual fund) and an “aspiration impact measurement” score for shops. Read my full review of Aspiration.
My search for sustainable credit cards resulted in limited results. The main type of card that I found was an “affinity” card, where a non-profit is supported through your purchases. This to me seems almost a bit ironic – through our card, we “donate” to save the animals or to promote renewable energy but then the bank behind the card contributes to deforestation of animal habitats or funding fossil fuel projects.
A better option is to get a credit card through a credit union or community bank. From the certified B Corporation bank list, Amalgamated Bank offers credit cards and Beneficial State Bank will be launching a “value-driven credit card program later this year”; all of the other B Corporation banks only offer debit cards. For now, I plan to use my Aspiration debit card as much as possible and wait and hope that the Beneficial State Bank card will be sustainable and will offer good perks.
Home & renter insurance
The options for sustainable home & renter insurance is currently limited to one –Lemonade. Lemonade is trying hard to upend insurance, for the good – they take a low cost flat fee, pay claims quickly, are a certified B Corporation, and give back to charities a significant percentage of any unclaimed money (although as major disasters continue to increase, there may not be much unclaimed money left). They’re not available in Washington, where I reside, so I can’t join. But I’m excited to watch the cracking of the mold of the current insurance model.
This is the final blog post of the series “The Journey of Becoming a Sustainable Investor.” Thanks for joining my journey!
Photo by Etienne Martin