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Ethical savings

Nearly three-quarters of savers want their money to have a positive impact on people and the planet
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Elementary-age girl outside in nature, holding plant in hands

With interest rates climbing to a 14-year high just as ISA season kicks-off, many people are turning their eyes to savings – especially as the cost of living crisis continues.

To mark the moment, yesterday (14 Feb) Ecology Building Society launched its nationwide consumer research, revealing that nearly three-quarters (74%) of savers would like their savings to be used to have a positive impact on the environment and society.

In addition, over half of those surveyed (52%) would move providers if they could see the positive impact from how their bank or building society invests their savings.

Ethical spending on the rise

The findings back existing research which found last year that ethical consumer spending and finance in the UK continues to rise, and had broken the £100bn mark in 2020 (at £122bn) for the first time.
The research from the ethical savings and mortgage provider found that over half (53%) of those surveyed do not know how their bank or building society uses their money and the majority (65%) think the financial system is too complicated.

Additionally, a lack of understanding in how to change savings products (33% find the process too complicated) is a barrier to changing providers, while 38% don’t understand the available products.

Savers want transparency and control

Savers are seeking transparency and control, with 64% wanting to influence how and where their money is used.

Banking is one of the largest contributors to an individual’s carbon footprint and choosing an ethical provider that shows where money is being used can make a huge difference.

When asked about what sorts of projects or organisations consumers would like to support with their money in a savings product, tackling the climate crisis (34%) and supporting affordable housing (27%) were the top priorities.

‘This year already looks set to continue to follow in the trend of the last one which was defined by permacrisis. This means many people are understandably feeling a loss of control over many aspects of life. Spiralling cost of living and the climate emergency can feel far removed from individual action.
‘This research demonstrates that there is a real demand from consumers to know how their money is being used. In a time of multiple pressures, people want to ensure strong returns but with a transparent process that they can support consciously. ISA season offers a timely opportunity to reflect on consumer demand and if it is being met by the industry.
‘Ecology is powered by its members, who help drive and deliver on our mission to provide a fair and transparent financial system. Our members can be confident that their savings are being used to make a positive impact, home by home. Finance has a key role to play in supporting environmental development, increasing affordable housing and providing opportunities to transform the UK’s housing stock for a more sustainable future. We are committed to acting under a values based banking system and advocating for transparency for consumers to make the most informed decisions on who they choose to bank with.’

Chief executive of Ecology Building Society

Ecology’s ecological mission has guided its lending, and the building society is recognised as a pioneer of green finance.

It advocates for a simple, transparent savings system which allows control over where money is used to help people, planet and local communities.

Ecology Building Society uses savings to make a positive environmental impact through lending to build ecological homes, community-led affordable housing and sustainable communities.

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