Millions of customers want ethical financeSurvey finds many take ethics into account

19 March 2008

Transparent piggy bank with money being dropped in

Millions of Britons are taking ethical and environmental issues into account when choosing a financial services company, research showed today.

Around 16% of people said they looked at a company's environmental and ethical credentials when deciding who to bank with, while 31% said they would consider these issues when they next took out a mortgage or opened an account, according to market analyst Mintel.

Todd Davis, senior finance analyst at Mintel, said: 'Environmental and ethical issues are really starting to take hold of the banking world, with millions of people now seriously considering these causes before making financial decisions.'

Ethical credentials

But the poll of 1,969 people found that there is a lot of cynicism among people about the banking industry's ethical credentials, with two-thirds dismissing the ethical stance banks claimed to have as a PR stunt.

It also found that while many financial services firms were highlighting their commitment to being environmentally friendly, consumers were actually much more concerned about where they were investing their money.

Around 56% of people said they wanted to be sure that their financial services provider did not invest in companies that used child labour, while 45% did not want their bank to indirectly invest in corrupt regimes.

Arms trade

A further 45% of those questioned for the survey, carried out in December, said it was important to them that their bank did not invest in the arms trade, while 39% felt the same way about companies that used animal testing.

But only 24% of people said they would look at whether a bank was carbon neutral when deciding where to put their money.

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