You want to support projects that benefit people and the planet, but you’d also like to get a decent return on your cash if possible.
If that sounds like you, ethical Triodos Bank is offering the chance to put money into projects paying between 5% and 7% interest a year. However, there are risks.
Triodos was founded in the Netherlands and set up an office in the UK in 1995. It recently won the endorsement of McMafia star James Norton – he revealed last month that he had moved his current account from US giant Citibank to Triodos – while actor Sir Mark Rylance has been with it for many years.
Now it has unveiled an ethical investment website: triodoscrowdfunding.co.uk. There are similar sites already out there, including Ethex and Abundance, though Triodos says it is the first UK bank to launch such a platform. It will allow people to invest directly in bonds or equity issued by charities or businesses “that have been extensively screened by Triodos for social and environmental impact, the viability of their business model and the credibility of the management team”.
The first two bond offers are:
• Mendip Renewables, which aims to raise £1.8m by the end of March to take a 5MW operational solar farm in Somerset into community ownership. Triodos says investors can earn 5% a year, increasing in line with the annual retail price index, repayable over 17 years.
• Rendesco, which wants to raise £5.5m to develop green energy from ground source heat pumps, aims to pay 7% a year over seven years.
However, be aware that these investments are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, your capital is at risk, and returns are not guaranteed.