Ten years on from the start of the financial crisis, an ethical bank is inviting its savers to see first-hand how their cash can have a positive impact on society.
As new research reveals six out of 10 people want to know where their money is invested, Charity Bank is launching its Follow the Money campaign which will see 38 charities and social enterprises open their doors so savers can see where and how their money is being used.
The campaign, launched a decade after the global financial crisis, aims to highlight a different approach to banking and how by saving with an ethical provider, people and organisations can transform their money into a powerful force for good.
It comes as research, published by Charity Bank, revealed that 60% of people would like their bank to make it clearer what happens to their money and where it is invested. And over two fifths (46%) would like to be offered an ethical option when choosing a savings account.
Charity Bank is now calling on individuals, businesses and charities to question how their savings are currently being used. It’s asking them to consider whether their money could go beyond simply earning a fair return and be channelled into the social sector to help to make a positive contribution on society.
Over the last 16 years, Charity Bank has made over 900 loans. The recipients range from a marine conservation charity to a young people’s theatre, grassroots sports club to an employment academy for people affected by homelessness.
Throughout September and early October, Charity Bank is touring the length and breadth of the country to showcase how its savers’ money is being used to support organisations such as Holne Community Shop & Tea Room in Devon.
When the local shop and team room was facing closure, the community in Holne and nearby Scorriton came together to save the important social hub. They formed a committee and took responsibility of running the shop and tea room for the benefit of the wider community.
In 2014, the social enterprise received a £75,000 loan from Charity Bank to assist with the purchase of its premises.
Secretary Gilly Simpson said: “The community shop and tea room has proved an invaluable resource. Not only do tourists who are walking or cycling in the park flock to the tea room, it provides a great meeting place for various members of the community. It provides a real lifeline for certain people who might otherwise struggle with loneliness and isolation.”
Gilly added: “To everyone who saves with Charity Bank and made our community project possible, I’d say thank you and please continue to save with them because your money really is doing good. We would never have been able to make this a reality without the support of Charity Bank and its savers. In a rural area like ours, it’s so important to have a place like this for people to come and socialise. The shop and tea room are at the heart of our community now.”
Charity Bank saver, Reverend Tim Carter, Vicar of All Saints Church in Wellington, opened an Ethical ISA five years ago. Along with his wife Liz and their two teenage children, Tim’s family makes conscious decisions about how to live their daily lives and invest their money in ethical ways, from using green energy suppliers and recycling to buying organic and Fairtrade where possible.
He explained: “We transferred our savings to a Charity Bank Ethical ISA about five years ago. Whilst this investment is our 17-year old daughter’s university fund, when it came to choosing an ISA product the interest rate was of secondary importance. We wanted to actively invest in something that was going to do some positive good. All our investments are in some way or another ethically invested – driven by the principle of ‘do no harm’ and therefore we ensure our money is not being used to do things that aren’t in line with our own values.”
Further findings from Charity Bank’s recent survey of 4,000 people across the UK* revealed:
- More than half (57%) said they prefer to buy from businesses that act ethically.
- Two fifths (41%) would pay more for a product or service from a business that demonstrates its ethical values.
- 60% believe businesses should do more to tackle social issues.
- 55% prefer to buy from businesses that can demonstrate similar values to their own.
- Younger generations tend to feel more strongly about ethical and social issues, with 71% of 18-34-year-olds saying they would prefer to buy from businesses that act ethically and 65% feel businesses should do more to tackle social issues.
Edward Siegel, Charity Bank’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s easy to dismiss the possibility of achieving a social return as well as a financial return on your investments but saving ethically offers the chance to do both.
“By channelling money into charities, social enterprises and social businesses, your money is used as a force for good. It enables these organisations to grow, innovate and build upon the services and support they provide to their beneficiaries.
“We are seeing a positive shift in attitudes towards social investment and ethical business, particularly amongst younger generations who are keen to align themselves with like-minded businesses and banks that are open and transparent.
“A lot of savers don’t have any idea where their money is being invested but it’s now very much within their power to question this and take control over how and where their money is used.
“And it’s not just individual savers, businesses and charities also have the power to make a positive impact on society by moving their savings to an ethical home, which could help improve their brand trust and reputation at the same time.”
Follow the Money, now in its 10th year, gives Charity Bank savers the opportunity to see how their money is being used to support charities and social enterprises. This year’s tour, which corresponds with Good Money Week (29th September – 5th October), started at the beginning of September and will run until October 5th, taking in visits to 38 Charity Bank borrowers.
To keep up to date with the Follow the Money tour and support the campaign, visit www.charitybank.org/followthemoney*An online survey of 4,000 nationally representative UK adults (aged 18+) carried out between 27th February and 6th March 2018 by Opinium on behalf of Charity Bank. The results have been weighed to nationally representative criteria.