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We need to question what bankers are being rewarded for



Ed Miliband launched an attack on the mainstream banking system this week, criticising bonuses and calling for a shake-up at the big banks.

Chris Leslie, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, had called for George Osborne to block moves by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is 80% owned by the taxpayer, to pay some of its top bankers up to twice their annual salary in bonus payments. Despite the chancellor refusing to put a stop to such measures, Labour leader Miliband said that a £1m bonus should be “quite enough”, and that further plans to reform the banking sector were to be outlined on Friday.

His subsequent speech promised a new culture of long-termism within banking, if the Labour party won the general election in 2015.

For Charles Middleton, managing director of the sustainable bank Triodos, bankers’ bonuses in particular ought to be analysed pragmatically.

“Although the issue of large bonuses is such a sensitive issue, I think we need to separate the emotional aspects from the reasons that bankers are being paid these bonuses”, he tells Blue & Green Tomorrow.

Why is a large amount of taxpayers’ cash being given to bankers? While much of society sruggles to deal with stagnant wages and the rising costs of energy, fuel and food, bankers at private and state-owned institutions – who, let’s face it, are already paid handsomely – are getting twice that amount as a reward for what can only be described as irresponsible and unsustainable practices within their firms.

We know that RBS was named and shamed as one of the institutions failing small businesses in recent years, and despite everything that has gone on, its Global Restructuring Group was accused of the “shocking treatment” of business customers, according to a government adviser. And that’s without fines for Libor fixing and criticism over fossil fuel funding.

“What are these bankers being incentivised to do?” Middleton asks.

“If the payments are being distributed among bankers for clearing up the acts of the bank, that’s all well and good, but I would certainly like to see the argument being geared around what is going on within these organisations.

If these bonuses are performance-related, then it is important to look at what performance consists of. If performance is considered as making maximum profits, whatever the costs to societal, cultural and environmental conditions, then that is absolutely not right.”

When asked whether he would take a bonus worth double his annual salary, Middleton says, “I wouldn’t work for an organisation where that happens. If I was being incentivised to make more of an impact with the money we source – it would be more relevant to my job.”

The Triodos managing director talks about the concept of the “local bank”, saying that many based on this model have a better understanding of their customers, competitors and the conditions within which they are operating.

This model goes back to the historical concepts of banking, where the bank serves the customer”, he says.

The trouble is, with mainstream banks such as RBS, the performance of the bank is not aligned with the performance of society. Whilst banker-bashing may have become a favourite pastime for many in the years since the financial meltdown, Conservative ministers such as David Cameron and George Osborne are defending their decision to pay bankers excessively large bonuses.

Ed Miliband’s proposals on Friday to radically restructure the British banking system as we know it, including promising “long-termism”, may be a welcome measure for some.

Middleton welcomed the measures, but said, “It’s essential that any new challenger banks, formed from the constituent parts of the existing banks or otherwise, are not cut from the same cloth”.

“This goes much further than market share, high street presence and remuneration, to a fundamental change in their reason for being, serving society rather than themselves. It means banks actively supporting the development of a more healthy and sustainable economy, acting with true integrity and not forsaking principles for the sake of profit”.

The fact is that banks have behaved badly in recent years, but whoever takes on the task of transforming the banking system faces an arduous challenge in radicalising the cultures embedded deep at the heart of the institutions themselves.

Banks do not exist solely for the maximisation of profit; they are designed to serve society, communities and people. A basic acceptance of this fact would represent a small step down a very long road.



How Going Green Can Save A Company Money



going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

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

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

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.

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Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance



“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]

Report contents:

What you need to know
Report definition
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
The role of investing
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
The social debt of the financial crisis
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

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