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Public want banks to lend ethically, survey finds

Nov 9

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09/11/2010 17:25  RssIcon

73% of UK public think that banks should have ethical lending policies

73% of the British public think that banks should have ethical lending policies in place to prevent them from investing in, or lending to, companies involved in controversial areas such as arms manufacturing, or companies with poor records on the environment and human rights, according to new research released today.

The national online consumer survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of non-profit research organisation EIRIS, explores current consumer attitudes to green and ethical finance. The survey launched as EIRIS figures show that the amount of money invested ethically in the UK has risen 289% over the last decade.

The survey identifies clear evidence of the need for change in all investment and lending practices. 66% of the survey respondents think that banks and other financial institutions have not learnt the lessons needed to prevent a future financial crisis but instead have reverted to 'business as usual'. 

In the wake of the BP oil spill, many consumers recognise the impact that green and ethical issues can have on a company's bottom line. 82% of the British public think that it is 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.

Survey respondents were presented with a list of ways that banks or financial institutions could offer more to their customers. Ranked most highly was the disclosure of information on how and where banks lend to or invest their money, with 77% thinking that banks or financial services providers should have this. 

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".

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