Tuesday 25th October 2016                 Change text size:

Banking on ethics

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In the run up to Move Your Money month in March, Charlotte Reid has been looking at the current top five ethical banks. Have you considered switching?

The first step to being more ethical with your money is to simply start thinking about it. Blue & Green Tomorrow has compiled the top five ethical banks to make the move a little less daunting.

In first place is sustainable bank Triodos, whose head of personal banking, Huw Davies, is confident as to why they came out in pole position: “Sustainable finance and ethics aren’t things we do as an ‘add-on’ – they’re in our DNA.

We were established to demonstrate that a different approach to finance can flourish – one that values people and the planet as well as profit“.

Second and third position goes to The Co-operative Bank and its online offering, Smile. A spokesperson for the Co-operative tells us “We’re committed to providing an alternative place to bank on the high street”.

The Co-operative became the first high street bank to launch a customer-led ethical policy that governs where the bank will or will not invest customers’ money. “This commitment underpins everything we do and since its launch we’ve withheld over £1billion of funding from business activities that our customers say are unethical”.

Nationwide Building Society came in fourth. Jayanti Durai, head of corporate responsibility, said that this was because it is owned by members and run for their benefit. She adds, “Being focused solely on our customers means it is clear who we serve”.

Last, but not least, was the Ecology Building Society, which has been offering ethical savings accounts and sustainable mortgages for over 30 years. “We believe that ethical savings aren’t just about avoiding negative impacts of your investment, they’re about using your money positively to create a better world”.

The data comes from YourEthicalMoney.org, and Mark Robertson from EIRIS was involved in the research. “We start by looking at what banks have in the public domain and draw on that data to produce a profile”, Robertson explains.

Banks are given the opportunity to make comments or dispute profile content, but if a dispute is made, we ask for the supporting evidence”.

All the banks were judged on a number of criteria such as the green products they offer, ethical insurance, and environment policies, as well as a number of other values.

But what should you do with this information? Robertson says, “The big question people should be asking their bank is ‘What policy do you have in terms of investing and lending money?’ If the answers are not forthcoming or outside their ethical views, it’s very easy to switch banks”.

If you want to change who you bank with, then join the Move Your Money campaign. Simply pick a date in March, think carefully about the bank you want to support, and make the change.

If you want to do more with your money and have considered investing, then making a more ethical choice is easier than you think. To find out more, talk to your IFA. If you don’t have one, fill in our online form and we’ll connect you to a specialist financial advisor.

Picture source: Images Money

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