Three quarters of Brits want banks to go ethicalSurvey reveals 73% seek lending practices overhaul

09 November 2010

Fair Trade is a now common ethical issue

Ethical banks favour fair trade

New research from the Ethical Investment Research Service (Eiris) has shown that 73% of the British public feel banks should have ethical lending criteria in place to prevent them investing in, or lending to, companies involved in controversial industries such as arms manufacturing.

The national survey, launched to mark the UK's third National Ethical Investment Week, also found that people were keen for banks to steer clear of companies with poor records on the environment and human rights. A hefty 82% felt it important for financial product providers to pay more attention to environmental, social and governance risks when deciding which companies to invest in or lend money to, as part of ensuring a good financial return.

Banks back to 'business as usual'

The research also found that respondents were keen to see big changes in general investment and lending practices, with 66% arguing that banks and other financial institutions had not learnt the lessons needed to prevent a future financial crisis, instead reverting to 'business as usual'. 

Mark Robertson, Head of Communications at Eiris said: 'It's clear that there's a lot more that financial institutions can do to build trust and persuade us that they have switched away from short-term, unsustainable investing and lending practices. 

'Our survey shows that there's a huge appetite for a more intelligent approach to finance which places a greater emphasis on society and environment as part of a path towards a more sustainable financial future.'

More on ethical investing 

For much more information on ethical investments and expert views on choosing an ethical fund, read the Which? guide to ethical investing. To have your say on green and ethical finance, join the debate on the Which? Conversation.

National Ethical Investment Week runs from 7th to 13th November. Led by UKSIF, the UK sustainable investment and finance association, the aim is to increase general awareness of ethical finance.

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