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Public Call for Financial ‘Kitemark’ to Help Identify Sustainable Financial Products



Financing Climate Change by Itzafineday via flickr

The Good Money Week annual research has highlighted an overwhelming public demand for the introduction of ‘kitemark-style’ label to allow customers to identify which financial products are sustainable/ethical.

In total, 63% of the UK public backed the idea and 43% said it would make them more likely to buy a financial product, rising to 53% of 18-24 yr olds.

The Good Money Week poll found a surprising lack of awareness of the £1.5 trillion sustainable investment market in the UK. In total, 54% of the GB public is unaware that sustainable and ethical financial products exist, rising to over 63% among millennials (18-34 year olds).

Simon Howard, Chief Executive of UKSIF, the body coordinating Good Money Week, said,
“The Good Money Week research throws down a very clear challenge to the sustainable investment sector: to step up on awareness and assurance. Not enough people in the UK know ethical and sustainable options exist for their pensions and savings and not enough are ready to buy without a mechanism such as a kitemark-style label to sort the wheat from the chaff. Creating and managing such a label would be no easy task, but is a job worth doing if it helps build trust and more sustainable capital markets“.

Headline findings from today’s Good Money Week research of the British public show:

• 60% believe in the ability of the financial sector to generate high returns in an ethically and responsibly way.
• 69% want a new law requiring financial advisors to ask customers if they’d like to exclude specific sectors or companies.
• Almost one in four people (23%) are likely to invest 10% of their pension in impact investment (i.e. funds that seek positive social or environmental returns alongside financial returns).
• 35% would like their bank, pension or savings provider to offer a fossil free option, up from 32% last year. Demand is highest among millennials – almost half (46%) want a fossil free option.
• London has the strongest support for sustainable and ethical investment in the UK – 53% of Londoners want to make at least some positive difference with their money compared to 45% nationally.
• 49% think sustainable or ethical investment funds should not invest in fracking companies.

The research was conducted by YouGov for Good Money Week, which aims to raise awareness among individuals, financial advisers, pension funds and charities of all types of sustainable investing and finance in the UK. Close to 50 activities will be held across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as part of the Week, which commenced yesterday.

Amanda Young, Head of Responsible Investment at Standard Life Investments, said,

“While it is exciting that we are celebrating the ninth year of Good Money Week, the survey results show there is still a lack of awareness of the variety and depth of values-based investment solutions available. Our own research demonstrates that investors have, over time, moved away from wanting to avoid specific sectors to wanting to invest in companies that deliver a positive impact. There are several solutions to help meet this goal from ethical and sustainable & responsible investing through to the growing interest in impact investing. Increasingly it is less about sectors and more about how companies behave and contribute to society. We do believe that it is possible to address the world’s many social and environmental challenges while still making a positive financial return.”

Huw Davies, Head of Retail Banking at Triodos Bank, said,

“Triodos Bank would very much welcome the introduction of a kitemark-style scheme to help people easily invest their money in ways that are good for people and the planet. Indeed, our own research conducted for Good Money Week showed that 53% of investors think it should be standard for financial institutions to make customers aware where their money is being invested[1]. We hope that all the major players in the UK financial system will rally around an initiative like this to return greater transparency and trust to the sector.”

Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Aviva Investors said:

It’s clear that the UK public are interested in sustainability, and as an industry, we need to do more to help people understand where their savings are being invested.

“In September Aviva published a report entitled ‘Money Talks – How Finance can further the Sustainable Development Goals’ at the UN, calling for a kite-mark system to be introduced – a Fairtrade for Finance – so that fund managers can demonstrate their credentials as responsible investors.

“Voluntary standards in other industries are relatively commonplace, like Fairtrade in the retail sector, but there is no equivalent for the finance industry. We would like to be able to certify that our funds take sustainability seriously so that we can assure our clients that our investment approach is both long term and responsible.”

Regional differences

The Good Money Week/YouGov survey showed significant regional differences when it comes to attitudes to ethical and sustainable investment.

• Scotland is the region most likely to respond positively to the introduction of a kitemark-style label – 49% of Scots are more likely to buy financial products, compared to the national average of 43%.
• London is the region with the strongest support for sustainable and ethical investment – 53% of Londoners want to make at least some positive difference with their money compared to 45% nationally.
• London and the South are the regions most aware that sustainable or ethical financial products exist – 52%compared to the national average of 46%.
• Northern Ireland is the region most likely to invest 10% of pensions in impact investment – 28% compared to 23% nationally.
• The Midlands – 75% of people in the Midlands want to see a new law that ensures financial advisors ask clients if they want to exclude specific sectors or companies from their investments based on their investment practices.


5 Eco-friendly Appliance Maintenance Tips




Eco-friendly Appliance
Shutterstock Photos - By Punyhong |

Modern day society is becoming ever more conscious about the effects of human consumption on the environment & the planet.

As a collective, more people are considering taking action to positively counteract their environmental footprint. This is accomplished by cutting down on water consumption, recycling and switching from plastic to more sustainable materials. Although most people forget about the additional things that can be done at home to improve your individual eco footprint.

Appliances, for example, can be overlooked when it comes to helping the environment, despite the fact they are items which are found in every household, and if they are not maintained effectively they can be detrimental to the environment. The longer an appliance is used, the less of an impact it has on the environment, so it is essential for you to keep them well maintained.

If you’re considering becoming more eco-conscious, here are 5 handy appliance maintenance tips to help you.

Don’t Forget to Disconnect From Power First

General maintenance of all your appliances start with disconnecting them from power; microwaves, washing machines and ovens all use residual energy when plugged in, so it’s essential to unplug them.

Disconnecting the plugs can help keep them in their best condition, as it ensures no electrical current is running through them whilst they are supposed to be out of use. Additionally, this can help you save on energy bills. By doing this you are minimising your energy footprint.

Here we break down 4 tips to keep the most popular household appliances maintained.

Eco-Friendly Oven Maintenance

Ovens generally require very little maintenance, although it is essential to stay on top of cleaning.

A simple task to make sure you don’t have any issues in the future is to check the oven door has a tight seal. To do this ensure the oven is cold, open the oven door and use your hands to locate the rubber seal. You can now feel for any tears or breaks. If any have occurred simply replace the seal. More oven tips can be read here.

Eco-Friendly Refrigerator Maintenance

When keeping a fridge in good condition, don’t forget about exterior maintenance. Refrigerator coils, although an external fixture, can cause damage when overlooked.

Refrigerator coils can be found either at the front or rear of a fridge (check you user manual if you are unsure of its location). These tend to accumulate various sources of dust and dirt over a substantial time-period, which clog refrigerator coils, causing the refrigerator to have to work twice as hard to stay cool. An easy tip to solve this is to periodically use a vacuum to get rid of any loose dirt.

Eco-Friendly Washing Machine Maintenance

Most people tend to remember the basics tasks for maintaining a washing machine, such as not to overload the machine, not to slam the door and to ensure the washing machine is on a solid and level platform.

In addition, it is necessary to routinely do a maintenance wash for your washing machine. This means running an empty wash on the highest temperature setting and letting it complete a full wash to erase any build up and residue. You should repeat this task at least once a month.

Try to schedule this task around your bulk wash load times to save on water consumption.

This will help keep your washing machine in peak working condition.

Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Maintenance Tips

Dishwasher maintenance can be simple if implemented after every wash cycle.

To keep your best dishwasher hygiene standards, scrape away excess food whilst making sure to keep the filter at the bottom of the cavity empty between cycles. This simple task can be highly effective at preventing food build up from occurring in your dishwasher.

If you need additional tips or tasks you, can reference your manufacturer’s guidebook to check for a full breakdown. You can also head to Service Force’s extensive database of repair and maintenance manuals – including extensive troubleshooting guides for all of the critical appliance maintenance procedures.

In conclusion, you can save both money and energy by keeping your appliances in peak condition. The steps outlined in this guide will help us all preserve the environment and reduce industrial waste from discarded appliances.

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Two Ancient Japanese Philosophies Are the Future of Eco-Living



Shutterstock Photos - By Syda Productions |

Our obsession with all things new has blighted the planet. We have a waste crisis, particularly when it comes to plastic. US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made – 8.3 billion tons! Unfortunately, only 9% of this is estimated to have been recycled. And current global trends point to there being 12 billion tons of plastic waste by 2050.

However, two ancient Japanese philosophies are providing an antidote to the excesses of modern life. By emphasizing the elimination of waste and the acceptance of the old and imperfect, the concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi have positively influenced Japanese life for centuries.

They are now making their way into the consciousness of the Western mainstream, with an increasing influence in the UK and US. By encouraging us to be frugal with our possessions, (i.e. using natural materials for interior design) these concepts can be the future of eco-living.

What is Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai??

Wabi-Sabi emphasizes an acceptance of transience and imperfection. Although Wabi had the original meaning of sad and lonely, it has come to describe those that are simple, unmaterialistic and at one with nature. The term Sabi is defined as the “the bloom of time”, and has evolved into a new meaning: taking pleasure and seeing beauty in things that are old and faded. 

Any flaws in objects, like cracks or marks, are cherished because they illustrate the passage of time. Wear and tear is seen as a representation of their loving use. This makes it intrinsically linked to Wabi, due to its emphasis on simplicity and rejection of materialism.

In the West, Wabi-Sabi has infiltrated many elements of daily life, from cuisine to interior design. Specialist Japanese homeware companies, like Sansho, source handmade products that embody the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. Their products, largely made from natural materials, are handcrafted by traditional Japanese artisans – meaning no two pieces are the same and no two pieces are “perfect” in size or shape.


Mottainai is a term expressing a feeling of regret concerning waste, translating roughly in English to either “what a waste!” or “Don’t waste!”. The philosophy emphasizes the intrinsic value of a resource or object, and is linked to hinto animism, the notion that all objects have a spirit, or ‘kami’. The idea that we are part of nature is a key part of Japanese psychology.

Mottainai also has origins in Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhist monastic tradition emphasizes a life of frugality, to allow us to concentrate on attaining enlightenment. It is from this move towards frugality that a link to Mottainai as a concept of waste can be made.

How have Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai promoted eco living?

Wabi-Sabi is still a prominent feature of Japanese life today, and has remained instrumental in the way people design their homes. The ideas of imperfection and frugality are hugely influential.

For example, instead of buying a brand-new kitchen table, many Japanese people instead retain a table that has been passed through the generations. Although its long use can be seen by various marks and scratches, Wabi-Sabi has taught people that they should value it because of its imperfect nature. Those scratches and marks are a story and signify the passage of time. This is a far cry from what we typically associate with the Western World.

Like Wabi Sabi, Mottainai is manifested throughout Japanese life, creating a great respect for Japanese resources. This has had a major impact on home design. For example, the Japanese prefer natural materials in their homes, such as using soil and dried grass as thermal insulation.

Their influence in the UK

The UK appears to be increasingly influenced by thes two concepts. Some new reports indicate that Wabi Sabi has been labelled as ‘the trend of 2018’. For example, Japanese ofuro baths inspired the project that won the New London Architecture’s 2017 Don’t Move, Improve award. Ofuro baths are smaller than typical baths, use less water, and are usually made out of natural materials, like hinoki wood.

Many other UK properties have also been influenced by these philosophies, such as natural Kebony wood being applied to the external cladding of a Victorian property in Hampstead; or a house in Lancaster Gate using rice paper partitions as sub-dividers. These examples embody the spirit of both philosophies. They are representative of Mottainai because of their use of natural resources to discourage waste. And they’re reflective of Wabi-Sabi because they accept imperfect materials that have not been engineered or modified.

In a world that is plagued by mass over-consumption and an incessant need for novelty, the ancient concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi provide a blueprint for living a more sustainable life. They help us to reduce consumption and put less of a strain on the planet. This refreshing mindset can help us transform the way we go about our day to day lives.

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