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This app lets you find out how ethical your investments are. Find out how it works.
Sugi is a free iPhone app that lets you link your existing investment portfolio with to find out how environmentally sustainable your investments are in a fun and visual way. We’ve reviewed Sugi’s features and had a chat with its CEO, Josh Gregory. Find out what we thought of Sugi, its pros, its cons and how the app works.
What is Sugi?
A lot of companies have paid lip service to fighting climate change in the past few years, but as an environmentally conscious investor, it can be difficult to tell which companies are genuinely concerned about the climate and which companies just want your money. Sugi is an app that aims to make potentially greenwashed investments transparent. It does not give financial advice or let you make any new investments, but it can show you how sustainable your existing portfolio is. It does this by calculating the carbon impact of the companies, funds and ETFs you’ve invested in.
- Sugi lets you view all of your investments in one place to get an overview of their carbon footprint, either separately or as a whole.
- Sugi is free to use. It currently doesn’t make money.
- At the moment, Sugi is only available as an iPhone app, but it aims to release an Android app and a desktop app.
Sugi lets you log in to the investing platforms you already use orinput your investments yourself if you want to recreate your portfolio by hand. You can connect several different investment companies, and view your portfolios either separately or as a whole. If you want to look at one specific portfolio, you can select it in the sidebar.
Why use Sugi?
Some brokers already use environmental, social and governance (ESG) or sustainability ratings. However, these ratings are weighted differently depending on the agency that creates the ratings.
Different industries also use different sets of factors and may not take the weighting of a specific investment in your portfolio into account.
One common downside of ESG ratings is that they are a financial risk metric rather than an environmental risk metric. Even if you are interested in ethical investing, this makes it difficult to get an accurate understanding of how sustainable your portfolio really is. Sugi aims to give you an objective overview — It can evaluate the sustainability of individual investments and it can give you a general idea of how green your portfolio is.
How does the app work?
The app evaluates the carbon impact of your portfolio by looking at the business activities, electricity use, supply chain and customer behaviour of the companies you’ve invested in. It can also tell you how well a specific company’s carbon footprint is doing compared to other companies in the same industry.
Sugi claims to analyse impact data for approximately 95% of the listed equity market and for over 3,500 exchange traded funds, actively managed funds and investment trusts. It gets its environmental data from S&P Global Trucost, generally seen as a reliable source of ESG data and analysis, particularly in regards to sustainability.
The impact of ETFs or funds in your portfolio is calculated by adding up the carbon footprints of the companies it contains. The only type of investments Sugi does not take into account are bonds. This is because bonds are debts —so unlike with equities, you don’t actually become an owner of the company when you hold them. For this reason Sugi does not hold you responsible for their carbon footprint.
Sugi uses a visual representation of a forest to give you an immediate and intuitive sense of how your portfolio is doing. The app represents an investment’s carbon impact by chopping down a number of trees in that forest. The average tree absorbs 3kg of carbon dioxide in a year, but if it gets chopped down that carbon dioxide remains free to float around and eat away at the ozone layer. Therefore a tree in your Sugi forest dies for every 3kg of carbon dioxide an investment of yours releases into the atmosphere.
Your forest will wither or flourish depending on how green your investments are, which is refreshed weekly. You can also see the individual footprints of your investments, which will be represented by either a red or a green cloud next to the investment’s name.
How much does Sugi cost?
At the moment, Sugi is entirely free to use. There are no fees and the app does not make any money. That may change as more features are added, but Sugi has promised that it still aims to provide as many free features as possible.
Is Sugi safe?
Sugi does not offer investments or investment advice and isn’t in control of your money, which means it does not need to be authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Sugi is a read-only service, so it isn’t authorised to change any of the data you share with it. The app does not save the log-in details of any of the platforms you connect to it. Instead, it uses Moneyhub, an Open Finance data provider that is regulated by the FCA.
As part of the security protocols Sugi uses to keep your data safe, you’ll also be asked to re-enter your login details every three months. The app says it does not and will not sell any of your data, and if you delete your account your data will be deleted from the app’s servers within minutes.
Sugi customer reviews
Sugi is currently only available in the iPhone App Store. It has a limited amount of reviews, but so far their tone is positive with a five star rating. Reviewers praise its ease of use, smooth design and ethical mission statement. One suggestion for improvement was adding more stocks, as the app did not yet provide analytical data for all of the investments one reviewer had in their portfolio.
Pros and cons of Sugi
- Ethical mission
- Free to use
- Easy to use and understand
- Good design
- No Android or desktop app
- May not have data on every provider or investment
Our verdict: Is Sugi any good?
Sugi is still in its infancy, and is currently only available on Apple mobile devices. However, it plans to launch an Android app and a desktop app in the near future. The app is free, its design is pleasing and easy to use, and the early reviews are promising. It’s worth checking out if you are interested in green investing. Trying to put your money where your mouth is can be a hassle, but Sugi makes it easy to see the forest for the trees.
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