When Which? surveyed their members about their savings, they found that well over a quarter said ‘they care about the values of the companies they invest their savings in’.
Following on from this they also found out that over two-thirds of their members had no idea how to find out information about a bank’s sustainability credentials.
Sounds familiar? It’s certainly the case with most people and Which? Money Editor, Jennifer Ross, said:
“While interest rates are often the deciding factor when choosing a savings provider, we know some consumers would consider moving their money if they found it was invested in industries that harmed the environment. Providers must be more transparent to help consumers compare and make informed choices.”
To help their consumers, Which? Carried out a survey of the top 18 banks and building societies to gauge their sustainability.
This was carried out using research based on publicly available information.
Banks and building societies were rated in four different categories, those being: Carbon Reporting and Management, Environmental Reporting, Transparency and Ethos.
In a turn up for the books, it was a bank that came out on top.
Ethical bank, Triodos was top of the table and are the first bank we have ever heard of that’s mission is to help create a society that protects and promotes quality of life and human dignity for all.
Triodos’s CEO, Bevis Watts said to Which?:
“Sustainability is absolutely at the heart of Triodos Bank and we’re pleased to enable people’s money to be used as a force for good through our savings accounts, as well as current accounts and investments.”
In joint second place came building societies, Nationwide and Ecology both of whom scored highly for transparency and ethos.
The only other commendable result was for the Co-operative Bank which was listed sixth in the table due to waste reduction targets, although it should be noted their sustainability report did little to show how it helps its customers mitigate their environmental impact (maybe they should subscribe to Play It Green).
High street banks, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Natwest and Santander all finished in mid table of the Which? Green Rankings for savers.
The worst performing high street bank in the Which? survey was Satander.
Their spokesperson responded to the survey by saying:
“Our purpose is to help people and business prosper, which permeates the way we conduct our business and it is at the core of our sustainability strategy. We are committed to recognising the impact we have on all our stakeholders and aim to be responsible in everything we do.”
To sum up the findings of the survey, Jenny Ross, Which?’s money editor said:
“It can be incredibly difficult for consumers to gauge how sustainable a product or company is, but when it comes to savings providers our research shows building societies and specialist banks are doing a better job on sustainability and transparency, compared to high street banks”.
There is a clear winner in the Which? survey – the customer, who can now make a more informed decision as to which bank or building society to choose.
“I was recently told by a government advisor that savings and pensions are the two single things that have the largest impact on a person’s footprint. By switching to a sustainable alternative, such as Triodos, people can not only lower their footprint but just like Play It Green members, can have a positive impact on both people and planet.”
Richard Dickson – Co-Founder, Play It Green.
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