Ethical savings grow fastest in Scotland
More people in Scotland are turning to ethical and environmental savings than anywhere else in the UK, according to latest figures from leading ethical and sustainable bank Triodos. Driven by a growing interest in how their money is being used and continuing frustration at mainstream banks, more savers than ever before are choosing ethical savings accounts.
Triodos Bank has seen personal savings deposits in Scotland grow by 15% in the first three quarters of 2011, with total savings growing by 18%. This outstrips the UK as a whole for Triodos where personal savings have grown by 8%.
Triodos has announced it has opened a new office in Hanover Street, Edinburgh. The new office will not provide counter services but will support its expanded business banking team to continue to support social and environmental organisations in Scotland.
Charles Middleton, Managing Director at Triodos Bank says: “There’s a diverse range of exciting initiatives taking place in Scotland and many of the projects we support are leading the way in delivering positive environmental and social impact. We’re excited at the prospect of realising even more potential with the support of a growing community of savers.”
According to recent research by Triodos, there is overwhelming public support in Scotland for greater transparency about how banks invest their money. More than eight out of ten (84%) Scots want more information on what banks actually do with their money, and just three per cent feel banks are transparent about hat happens to their savings once deposited.
The research suggests that people feel banks should have a more positive impact on society:
• Two thirds (66%) of Scots would like to see banks doing more to support renewable energy initiatives.
• Six out of ten (62%) wanted to see more investment in community/social groups
• A quarter of respondents (27%) want to see greater investment in organic farming
• One in five (20%) feel arts and culture deserve more support from the banking community.
At present only a fraction of the money currently lent and invested by the main banks is used to bring about positive change, particularly through SMEs, and clearly the banks’ customers do not think this is good enough.
“More and more people are looking at the banks, the very organisations responsible for the current crisis, and demanding they take more of an active role in helping rebuild the economy,” says Charles Middleton.
“We strongly believe that banks and money should be a force for positive change, in terms of purpose and potential. We need to see the banking industry supporting and focusing more on the real economy and its future rather than just maximising short-term shareholder returns.“
Triodos has doubled its lending in Scotland over the last three years to £49 million at the end of Q3 2011. During the first three quarters of 2011, lending grew by just over 12%.
Triodos Bank finances projects ranging from Eigg Electric, generating renewable energy for the Hebridean island community, to long established family firms such as Henderson’s, a organic whole food retailer, café and bakery in the centre of Edinburgh. Growing numbers of savers enable Triodos to finance more projects to help build a strong sustainable economy in Scotland.
Savers with Triodos are able to see exactly where their money is being invested. Unlike any other bank, Triodos publishes details of all the organisations it lends to online at www.triodos.co.uk/knowwhereyourmoneygoes.
Charles Middleton concludes: “Individuals can feel powerless to create change in the face of today’s challenges. I believe strongly that a key change that everyone can make is thinking about how banks use their money and where they choose to put their savings. By switching to ethical banking, savers can make a conscious choice on putting their money to positive use in our society whilst still receiving a good return. They can vote with their feet on the prevailing greed and inequality, and together we can build a strong sustainable economy that benefits.