3 Ways Millennials Can make an Impact with their Savings

The world around us is changing, whether we like it or not. When we look to make a positive impact in our world, it’s often with our time and energy. Volunteering for ocean cleanups or mentorship programs and other hands-on activities. These are meaningful activities on a micro-level, however, it doesn’t change the fact that there are humanitarian, climate, and economic issues that are far greater than we can manage with our own two hands.

At the same time, we also happen to reflect a millennial generation that is overworked and overextended. So finding time and energy to devote to these give-back opportunities can be quite the challenge.

The good news is that there are financial professionals who can guide you to make that impact you’re looking for while also earning you a competitive return on your savings and investments.

De-carbonize your portfolio
Did you know that the average $10,000 Investment portfolio produces an annual carbon footprint of 900 kg a year? That’s more carbon produced than driving 3,000 km in your car, or going down the block to Fat Burger and hammering back 263 quarter-pound hamburgers. If we extrapolate that to a $100,000 investment portfolio then the carbon footprint is around 9.3 TONNES of CO2 emissions per year!

But it’s not that hard to find the right mix of publicly traded companies committed to a zero-carbon future instead. You could also do some reading on ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) that use screening methods to give the public low-carbon alternatives to those traditional carbon producing companies. These actions can drastically reduce the carbon emissions of your investment portfolio.

*Chart as per CoPower.com

Green Bonds
So what if you want to put your money directly behind the companies doing good things? Insert Green bonds, which finance clean energy investment infrastructure and other sustainability-related objectives. Various green bonds and green bond funds can provide competitive returns, and also offer a 100% guilt-free conscience. These investment vehicles are tough to beat!

Micro-Financing & Impact Investing
Micro-what? Micro-financing is taking your cash and lending it out to small businesses that are in need of funds to scale their business (think coffee shops or expanding fruit markets in impoverished areas). Quite often these companies are in economically unstable countries, or areas experiencing extreme poverty. Fortunately for us, there are institutions guaranteeing that if we lend our savings to those striving entrepreneurs, we will get our cash back, plus a modest return. In the meantime, we are stimulating a small economy and helping others get off the ground with their own small businesses.

Impact investing echoes those sentiments. The idea is very simple: If you’re going to invest your money, you’ll want to invest it in companies that are building the future you believe in. By directly investing in these companies in the areas of your concern, you provide easier access to capital. This, in turn, allows those companies to do more – find new markets, build new products, and take educated risks for expansion.

Don’t have savings to invest? Don’t worry – the oceans still need cleaning, you can eat a few fewer burgers and take public transit a little more, because every small action contributes to a more sustainable future.


Joss Biggins is an Investment Advisor with Leede Jones Gable in Vancouver, BC. He can be reached at 604-658-3253, by email at jbiggins@leedejonesgable.com, or via the team’s website at ethicinvest.ca. This information is not to be considered personal investment advice. You should consult with a professional advisor prior to acting on any of the material herein. Investment values fluctuate constantly and past performance is not a guarantee of future results

The comments and opinions expressed herein reflect the personal views of Joss Biggins. They may differ from the opinions of Leede Jones Gable Inc. and should not be considered representative of the research beliefs, opinions or recommendations of Leede Jones Gable Inc.

Leede Jones Gable Inc. is a member of the CIPF and regulated by IIROC.

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