What happens to your money when it’s in the bank is just as important as what you spend it on. Once your money is in the bank it gets invested all over the world. Banks lend or invest billions of pounds every day on your behalf but often you have no say in these investments at all.
Most of the main high street banks carry out some pretty unsavoury business practices such as dealing with countries with poor human rights records and providing banking services to arms companies. There is another option though! Ethical investment puts social and environmental considerations before profit so you can be sure your money is being invested in environmentally and ethically sound practices. You can check your bank’s record at www.ethiscore.org or in Ethical Consumer (copies at Green Action Food Co-op).
The Co-operative Bank is the only UK bank to have an ethical investment policy. They have a branch in Leeds at 41 Vicar Lane, across the road from the market (0113 234 3703). You can also get an account with Smile, their online bank, at: www.smile.co.uk Student accounts are available from both. Smile also got the best buy award from Which? Magazine for best bank and best customer service.
Leeds City Credit Union
A credit union is owned by its members. It works on a local level helping people organising their finances and offering affordable credit.
For savings accounts the Ecology Building Society is the most ethical option possible. They only lend money for green build/ ecological housing projects in the UK. Their offices are based in an eco-design building in Silsden, West Yorkshire but their postal services are excellent and very quick via pre-paid envelopes. For more information see: www.ecology.co.uk
Things you can do:
Switch your bank to Smile or the Co-operative Bank so there is a clear ethical investment policy for investments made on your behalf.
When you make the change write to your old bank and tell them why you moved.
Only buy things that you need and when you do spend money try and spend it in as ethical a place as possible. See the ‘[[Ethical Shopping]]’ section.
• The Good Shopping Guide:
• Ethical Consumer Magazine
• Leeds City Credit Union