Sometimes, it’s easy to feel as though you have no control over things. Especially at times like these with the pandemic and so many restrictions on what we can and can’t do. Work from home, home-school your children, etc.

We do, however, have control over our money. We can control where we spend it, where we invest it. We can ensure our money is as sustainable as we can make it.

For example, we can choose to buy our food from more local suppliers, thereby reducing food miles and emissions. We can buy some of our clothes and home furnishings second hand. This saves precious resources when clothes and furniture still have good life left in them. We already do this quite naturally with cars and bikes.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing: the basics

Taking an ESG approach to investing means that an investor will take environmental, social and governance criteria into account when they’re considering investing in an asset.

So, if an investor was looking at putting their money into a company, they’d assess the organisation’s environmental factors, like energy consumption, policy on climate change, or waste production.

They’d look at social factors, like the company’s community engagement, how well they protect human rights, or employee relations.

And they’d look at the company’s governance – the way the business is run – such as the quality of management, diversity of the board, or conflicts of interest.

Other things within our control are to write to banks and pension fund holders, requesting they divest funds from fossil-fuel industries and to reinvest using ESG criteria.

Ask your employer or council whether their investments are placed using these criteria. Write to big corporations – Amazon, Coca-Cola, Facebook, etc, the list is endless – and ask the same of them.

It’s not enough to accept that funds are invested in something which is ‘claimed to be socially responsible’. That could mean anything. It might be greenwash. Ask them to be specific.

If enough of us write to organisations like these, they will give in to public pressure and start changing their investment strategy. This will result in a big surge in financing for more sustainable investments, which in turn will help boost the green revolution.

We could be mini David Attenboroughs, focussing our family, friends and colleagues’ attention on these issues by making them aware of our actions.