Social impact investing can make us all environmental heroes

Posted on 3rd April 2019

plastic bottle on the beach

Written by Karina Sidenius, Assistant Brand Manager, Abundance Investment

Most of us will have been told as children that TV will give us square eyes but the past 18 months have shown that, with the help of digital technology, it can also make environmental heroes of us. Of course I’m talking about the Blue Planet effect.

In the time since Blue Planet II hit our screens its effect has been real and measurable. What started as a swell of support for reducing waste and plastic has grown into a tidal wave; recent research shows that 81% of the British public are extremely or somewhat concerned about plastic use, with 78% also concerned about our levels of waste*.

Digital technology, and social media in particular, has played a key part in maintaining momentum on the issue. Sustainable living Instagram accounts and blogs have sprung up like daisies. Reusable water bottles are now a £5.5bn industry and turnover is up 200% at reusable coffee cup company Ecoffee Cup. Twitter is awash with people pledging to participate in #PlasticFreeJuly and urging companies to #BeatPlasticPollution. The result is news such as the European Parliament recently voting to ban single-use plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers and cotton buds by 2021.

All of the above are clear examples of collective action going on to inspire top-down initiatives and, together, the creation of long-lasting change. It has almost all a product of the connections technology can foster. But there is much more to do about waste if we are to live truly sustainably, and much of it needs much bigger solutions than the changes we can make as consumers.

More than 20% of us report having tried to change our habits to take action on plastics and waste but being unable to find a way. For the 51% who have managed to change our habits*, we’d be lying if we claimed to be totally zero waste and plastic free when UK levels of household waste are still rising year on year.

As investors, however, there is much greater scope for changing our relationship with waste. Abundance is rethinking waste and the money in our wallets by making investments in the technologies that will help us transition to a lower carbon economy accessible to all. We believe there is huge power in choosing to invest your ISA, pension, or general savings into large infrastructure and power projects that will create energy from our non recyclable waste instead of sending it to landfill or abroad.

The truth of the matter is that it will take years before we have a neat solution to every problem, and plastic is only half the story. By using our money to invest in finding those solutions, and limiting our impact until we do, the Abundance platform is another example of digital technology as a force for positive change. Giving power to the people from investments as little as £5 each.

This is why transition is one of our three key impact sectors (the others being green energy and housing). Our 6,000 customers have come together on the Abundance platform to fund more than £22 million of transition projects, and £88 million across all three sectors. From the minimum of £5 right up to investments of £50,000 or more our investors are a growing community making money but not at any cost.

Abundance set out with a mission to provide opportunities for ordinary people to build the future they want to see with their money. Every investment in a solar farm, an energy-from-waste plant, or new social housing is a vote for a future that is greener and more fair for our people and our planet. So as you sip your water from a reusable bottle and eat lunch with your bamboo cutlery, consider what the money you have invested is doing for a better future. It’s all part of the same big story, and together we get to write it.

Risk warning. As with any investment product there are risks. Part or all of your original invested capital may be at risk and any return on your investment depends on the success of the project invested in. You should be prepared to hold Abundance investments for their full term and investments may not be readily realisable. Estimated rates of return may be variable and estimates are no guarantee of actual return.

*Data from the Great British Money Survey 6, commissioned by Abundance and independently collated by OnePoll, 12-20 March 2019. Results available to download here:

Abundance Investment was a 2019 Impact Awards winner, in the category Investment.

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