Move Your Money is certainly a campaign of its time. Mobilised by an abundance of banking scandals, more than 500,000 people have switched from the big banks to ethical, local and mutual alternatives since its launch last year. Its chief executive, Laura Willoughby MBE, explained to Triodos Bank’s Will Ferguson how you can join the movement.
This article was first published in The Colour of Money, Triodos Bank’s customer magazine. You can subscribe for free here.
For most people, moving banks is like breaking up from a relationship. Every time I tell people what I do, some apologise for being with their bank for so long and feel guilty that they haven’t looked at moving yet.
People talk about the fact that their parents banked with them, or they had an account with them as a child or a student and haven’t moved since. They also talk about how complicated it is to move banks, which is a very common perception. But ironically, we’ve not heard from anyone who actually has moved who’s found it difficult.
There’s a real reluctance to switch, and in part it’s to do with the way we feel. We’re quite risk averse in this country about how we perceive our money, and scared about our own knowledge, or lack of, around it. We don’t feel qualified to do our own research and then move. But just a small bit of knowledge can help empower you around your own finances, and we hope to provide that in a way that isn’t too technical.
We’re really trying to improve the information we give to people about who the better banks are – not forcing their hand but helping them to get them away from the big five high street banks.
For a campaign that was run on a tiny amount of funding and no infrastructure, Move Your Money managed to make a big splash last year. Some really good stunts in the City highlighted that people do have the power to move their money and take a stand against some banks.
Last year there were big campaigns around the banks’ AGMs, bonuses and queues of people lining up outside banks to move their accounts. Move Your Money gave people across the UK the confidence to act on their dissatisfaction and even inspired other movements across Europe. It really took hold of the feeling of the time, and that feeling has not yet gone away.
Switch and tell
Banking news is headline news at the moment. We’ve had a busy few weeks already with bonuses, Libor fines and more. There’s no doubt in my mind that now is the right time to empower customers and to start getting them to change their mindset about where they have their bank account. That’s why we’re running a ‘switch and tell’ campaign in March.
The banking reform bill is coming to parliament, and while we’re not lobbyists, we are the only call to action for customers to show their upset and displeasure. We’re encouraging people to visit our website and tell us which bank they’re switching from and to.
We’re also making it very easy to generate an email to their MP explaining why. Otherwise real people’s voices won’t be heard in the banking reform debate. It will end up being about business and banking, and not around customers. We need to gain some momentum around it.
Barclays is the only bank at the moment that’s making any noises about wanting to change, and that can’t be a bad thing. They wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t think their reputation is at risk – they’ve realised people are unhappy and that’s not a place they want to be.
It’s a really good sign, showing that public pressure can start to make a change. We’ll have to wait to see if it really works, if they’re really committed, or if shareholders who want bigger dividends put the brakes on it. If a few more banks start to make better noises, the public might have more confidence in the future of the banking sector.
Move Your Money
If you’ve moved your money and are happy to share your story, visit their website to take part in their switch and tell campaign: www.moveyourmoney.org.uk.
How Going Green Can Save A Company Money
What is going green?
Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.
The first step in going green
There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.
Making needed changes within the company
After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.
Reducing the common paper waste
Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.
Make money by spreading the word
Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.
5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable
Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.
1. Weather stripping
If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.
Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.
Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.
2. Programmable thermostats
Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.
Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!
3. Low-flow water hardware
With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.
Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.
Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.
4. Energy efficient light bulbs
An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.
New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.
5. Installing solar panels
Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.
Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.
From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!
These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.
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