It all started with one question. Is there a financial institution that cares about the planet that can also help me reach my savings goals?
That question inevitably led to more questions.
Can my savings actually make a postive impact around the world?
How can I know my savings are making an impact? How many I make sure my money is safe? If I can make an impact with my money and keep it secure, can I still earn a decent interest rate?
After some research, I found that there are a lot of options out there, depending on how much risk you were willing to take and what your financial needs were.
On one hand, I could give my money to crowdfunding companies that invest directly in impactful businesses, like sustainable farming or community development programs. That was appealing, but I learned I would have to lock up my money for 5 years and run the risk of losing all my money if that business went bust.
On the other hand, I could give my money to a green pension provider. That is a great option for my long-term savings goals, because of the tax benefits associated with pension saving. But, are the funds that I am investing in actually making a positive impact?
Finally, I could open a savings account with a high-street bank. Because banks do not need to tell you how they use my money while on deposit (the money doesn’t just sit in a vault), they could be financing companies that drill in the arctic, support the arms trade or develop harmful fossil fuel projects.
Either I was running the risk of getting less than what I deposited through pension or direct impact investments, or I could get a traditional savings account but had no idea what my money was funding.
Then I thought to myself. Surely, there is a way to combine impact, safety and returns in one simple to use savings account.
Turns out there was, and that is what Shoal is.
Shoal is like any other traditional savings account. You put your money away in a savings pot with Shoal for three, six or twelve months, and in return Shoal pays you a fixed rate of interest. You get back what you put in plus interest. Your money is safe. Check. You are earning interested on your savings. Check.
Unlike any other traditional savings account, with Shoal, your money helps support sustainable development around the world and especially in emerging markets. Your savings are referenced to a global portfolio of sustainable assets. Your savings might help support a floating solar power plant in Indonesia or it may support a water treatment plant in Angola. What’s better is that you can learn more about the portfolio of assets your money is helping support. All of that information is public, so you know what is happening to your money.
Knowing your savings are making an impact. Check.
Increasingly, we all want to know what your banks do with our money. We want our financial institutions to contribute to fighting the climate crisis and support sustainable development.
At a minimum, we want our financial institutions to show us what happens to our money while it is on deposit.
Make My Money Matter estimates that for every £10 you put in your pension, £2 is linked to deforestation. They also estimate that by moving your pension to a greener provider can cut carbon emissions 21x more than going veggie, giving up flying and switching energy provider.
Now, imagine if we all asked our bank what happens to our everyday savings while on deposit. How many of us would move the collective £300 billion in cash savings currently on the deposit in the UK to a provider that cares about the planet.
We want Shoal to be the simple answer to that question.
We can’t wait to help you reach your savings goals and show you that your money can make a positive impact on the planet.
Joan Medland, co-Founder of Shoal