EC Issue 179 - July 2019

49 Letters JULY/AUGUST 2019 We welcome readers’ letters. Letters may be edited for reasons of space or clarity. If you do not want letters to be published, please mark them ‘Not for publication’. Our address is on the contents page, or email us at letters@ I contacted the Citizens Advice consumer helpline who also were not sure about this issue but said they would send it to Trading Standards. Interestingly they put me onto the UK Fashion and Textile Association who told me that there is no requirement for garments to state that they are organic, just to state the material – ie in this case cotton. It would seem to me that there is a big loophole here in labelling as anyone could advertise clothes as organic cotton (and potentially charge a premium). Trading Standards, or whoever the regulatory body might be for this, would have to check suppliers and evidence that the cotton was grown organically, or ask the company to do this perhaps, which seems unlikely. Obviously there is reputational risk if they were found out. Odd really when you think about the rigour with organic food. Jude Baker, by email Lifetime ISAs Do you have any articles or advice about lifetime ISAs (LISAs)? Most of the obvious ethical banking providers don’t seem to offer one as far as I can find out. I usually take care to bank reasonably ethically (I’ve never earned enough to save before), but I can’t afford to pass up the benefits of a LISA. Anything over and above what I can save into my LISA I will put into an ethical ISA, but I’d still like to make the LISA as ethical as possible. Gill Butterwick, by email ED: We haven’t reviewed lifetime ISAs. But two ethical options are: Go for a cash version of a Lifetime ISA with a building society. Low returns but no unethical investments. Skipton and Newcastle do well on Money Saving Expert. Arrange your own stocks and shares version linked to one of our best scoring ethical funds. See our ethical investments guide in the Money section of our website. This second one is more complicated, and you might benefit from advice from one of our recommended IFAs (though this will cost). www.ethicalconsumer. org/money/choosing-ethical- independent-financial-advisor Unethical clearing banks for ethical banks I was looking at your banking ratings and based on the review of Charity Bank, was thinking about setting up a savings account. In their information, it states that they work with NatWest as their clearing bank for bank transfers. Presumably NatWest must charge them for this? Is that factored in in your score for Charity Bank? This is not really my area (and I couldn’t find a way to contact them on their website) but are there other banks they could use as a clearing bank? Does NatWest take a percentage? Would be good to have a note about this on their page here, just so people are aware – it’s not obviously available information. Serian Carlyle, by email • • ED: There are 11 clearing banks in the UK, none without ethical issues. Bank of England Bank of Scotland Barclays Clydesdale Bank The Co-operative Bank HSBC Bank Lloyds Bank National Westminster Bank Nationwide Building Society The Royal Bank of Scotland Santander UK We don’t currently factor the choice of clearing bank into our score for the smaller players. NatWest will earn money from the services it provides to Charity Bank and others. Zero waste shops directory Just in case you weren’t aware of this, I wanted to share this directory which is being maintained by a group of zero waste enthusiasts. It might be of interest to your readers! Karla, by email • • • • • • • • • • •