Otherwise “green” consumers are highly likely to ignore or abandon their ethical consumer values when it comes to banking.
A study commissioned by “ethical” banking company Triodos Bank reports that even consumers who usually buy ethical products do not generally bank with ethical banking organizations.
According to study author Prof. Alex Gardner: “When it comes to choosing where to save most ethical consumers don’t live up to their principles. While [ethical consumers] regularly recycle and are happy to pay more for ethical products, like fair trade coffee and organic food, they ignore their basic values when it comes to their banking choices. Instead, green consumers deposit their money with banks they recognise as having policies that can harm the planet.”
Study participants cited a variety of reasons for not using green banking services including: a lack of information, inadequate services, and apathy.
Most green banks are small organizations which most consumers may not even have heard of. The bank that commissioned the study, Triodos Bank, is a Bristol based bank that only lends money to ethical businesses or charities and offers green savings accounts. Other more recognizable banks are beginning to get on the green bandwagon, however. HSBC offers account holders a “green option” to save paper. Barclay’s offers a green credit card which gives half of its profits to climate change initiatives.
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