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Ethical investment demand rises as individuals turn to sustainability



Almost half of Britons want green or ethical themes incorporated into their savings and investments, according to figures released as part of National Ethical Investment Week (NEIW).

The research undertaken by YouGov found that some 45% of adults in Great Britain subscribe to this ethos, with 15% wanting their entire savings and investment portfolio to be invested in this way.

NEIW – an annual event that aims to encourage ethical investment – began yesterday and statistics released in line with the week found that responsibly-managed assets in the UK now exceed €1 trillion – a figure that makes up 18% of the European responsible investment market.

“2012 has seen the shareholder spring and a summer of banking scandals. It’s no surprise that demand for green and ethical investment and finance is so strong”, said Penny Shepherd MBE, chief executive of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) and co-ordinator of NEIW.

The simple message is that people want to make money and make a difference with their savings and investments. And they can!

I urge everyone to use this year’s National Ethical Investment Week to find out about the many options they can consider.”

Healthcare emerged as the primary area that investors in Great Britain would want their finances to support, with 40% of individuals choosing it ahead of last year’s frontrunner, climate change.

Dissatisfaction with the mainstream banks also increased, according to the poll, with almost a quarter (24%) of adults claiming to be interested in green or ethical banking options after overseeing one too many financial scandals on the high street – up 2% on last year.

Blue & Green Tomorrow’s recent Guide to Sustainable Banking profiles just a few of the dedicated ethical, sustainable and responsible banks in the UK – which have welcomed half a million new customers since January, according to the Move Your Money campaign.

The Co-operative Bank is said to have witnessed a 43% year-on-year increase in the number of people switching accounts to it – with 100,000 people moving in June and July alone – around the time when the Libor rate-fixing scandal became public.

This data provides further evidence of how The Co-operative Bank is recognised as a genuine and trusted alternative for banking on the high street”, said Robin Taylor, head of banking.

Feedback from customers that have recently switched has shown that the instigator for them was a desire to have a bank they could trust, underpinned by a responsible approach to banking and an ethical policy that directs who the bank will and will not finance.

This, combined with a large range of competitive products and award winning customer service makes us a compelling alternative in the market.

Unlike other banks which are owned by their shareholders, we are member owned.”

The Co-operative Bank’s ethical policies manager appears in The Guide to Sustainable Banking, along with several managing directors and chief executives of the UK’s most prominent responsible banking alternatives, including Triodos, Charity Bank and Reliance Bank.

National Ethical Investment Week runs until Saturday, October 20. Join the movement on Twitter using the hashtag #NEIW12.

Further reading:

National Ethical Investment Week 2012 begins

Financial advisers targeted for National Ethical Investment Week

National Ethical Investment Week calls on religious groups to take action

The Guide to Sustainable Banking


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