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Related Categories launches ethical personal finance section

16th July 2007 Print
Barely a day goes by without there being an article or news story focusing on climate change, going green or donating to worthy causes.

This has lead to a situation where increasingly more and more people are now thinking about how they can adapt their own personal lifestyle to something more environmentally friendly and ethical.

We are also witnessing an increasing number of companies within the financial services industry launching eco-friendly and ethical products. To put the size of this market into perspective, the Co-operative Bank’s 2006 annual ethical consumerism report stated that ethical consumerism is now worth £29bn per annum, with ethical personal finance worth £11.5bn a year alone.

Until now, it has been difficult for consumers to assess what products are out there. They have had to rely on trawling through websites and printed media to glean what information they can.

Lynda Shentall, Director of services - George House Trust The HIV Voluntary Organisation for the North West of England commented: “I want to make use of financial products with ethical connections, but don't know where to start. There is no easy way of finding out the options when it comes to savings accounts or mortgages.

“People from opposite ends of the age spectrum will have strong views and their own view on what is important when it comes to choosing an ethically focused financial product. There is no right or wrong, it is down to individual choice, but making that choice is extremely difficult without having information on all aspects of products in one place.” recognises the growth in ethical personal finance products and has decided to launch a new section on its website, dedicated to providing consumers with an unbiased, independent choice of ethical finance products currently available.

Stephen Rumbelow, Head of commented: “There are literally hundreds of thousands of UK consumers who want to be more ethical or environmentally friendly, who simply don’t know where to start. There are various ethical or eco-friendly products being launched and some very good individual websites out there, but until now there hasn’t been one single reliable and trustworthy source for consumers to find out more about ethical personal finance. ”

“I’m also concerned that some companies are merely jumping on the bandwagon by using terms like ‘eco-friendly or ‘carbon-neutral’ as clever marketing messages. In some instances consumers may not be aware that these products don’t actually represent a fair deal for the environment, other people, or themselves.

“ recognises the growing importance of climate change and the benefits of ethical consumerism, which is why we will focus on what we do best – providing unbiased, independent information that enables consumers to find, research and buy personal finance products online. In fact, you could even say that is the single best source of information on the web for ethical personal finance.

“Not only do we have details of the credit cards, savings accounts, investments and mortgages that have an ethical association or benefit, we also have included a selection of useful guides and articles to provide consumers with relevant and useful information to help them choose products that match their own green or ethical outlook.

“Some ethical cards, accounts or mortgages can really help make a difference to our world, whereas others are not much more than ‘green wash’. I know that this area of the personal finance industry will become increasingly competitive over the next few years and hope that our new section will help consumers make an informed ethical choice that they feel comfortable with.”

Alex Gibbons, Head of Personal Banking at Triodos Bank adds: " Increasingly people care about the impact of their money. But it can be difficult to distinguish between products that really make a difference, and headline-grabbing accounts with little lasting benefit for the environment. With so much noise in the market, an independent source of green and ethical savings accounts is welcome."

Kelvin Collins, Head of Brand Management at Co-operative Financial Services said, “Co-operative Financial Services, which brings together The Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Insurance (CIS) is extremely proud of its ethical credentials. Our commitment to promoting our ‘greenness’ clearly cannot be questioned. The Co-operative Bank is the only high street bank to have an ethical mandated policy, now in its 15th year, and CIS was the first insurer to launch an ethical policy in 2005”.

“With our extensive portfolio of green products, from mortgages to eco-motor insurance we are able to provide consumers with a real choice when it comes to choosing green financial products. If, as many scientists are saying, we have ten years to make a dent in climate change, it is the provision of wide ranging green products, made available to people, that is going to deliver the rapid market changes required”.

“The efforts of far-sighted, highly motivated consumers need to be leveraged and supported with business innovation and government intervention.”