Ethical savings and investments up a third

November 08, 2010

The amount of money saved or invested ethically by consumers has shown its biggest annual increase in a decade according to a new report released today (6 November) by Co-operative Financial Services (CFS).

Total money invested ethically rose 34 per cent to £19.2bn, from £14.3bn in the previous 12 months. In comparison, total deposits and investments grew 15 per cent over the same period .

Ethical investment increased by 40 per cent last year from £6.8bn to £9.5bn, compared to a 33 per cent increase in mainstream funds.

Ethical banking increased by 31 per cent over 12 months, from £7.0bn to £9bn – compared to 4 per cent growth in total banking deposits.

Monies held in credit unions and ethical stocks increased 19 per cent from £552m in 2008 to £657m in 2009.

Tim Franklin, Chief Operating Officer, at Co-operative Financial Services said: “The growth that we're witnessing is evidence that in the wake of the financial crisis more consumers are considering the ethical as well as financial impacts of their money.

“While ethical finance has grown steadily over the decade there has clearly by a recent acceleration.

“This is something that we've experienced at The Co-operative Bank, with current account openings up 38% last year; a result of consumers 'flight to trust.”

Over the ten year period from 1999 to 2009, ethical finance has enjoyed a near four-fold (373 per cent) hike from £5.1bn to the £19.2bn. This includes:

  • A four-fold (423 per cent) lift in ethical banking from £2.1bn to £9bn,
  • ethical investments up by more than three times (332 per cent) from £2.9bn to £9.5bn, and
  • a rise from £150m to £657 (438 per cent) in money held in credit unions and ethical shares.

CFS offers a range of both ethical investment and banking products. Through The Co-operative Investments it provides three actively managed sustainable funds which are designed to meet the varying attitudes to risk of investors.

The funds focus on 8 key themes: Healthcare, climate change, global power shortage, technology, global infrastructure, urban regeneration, sustainability and emerging markets. The funds are:

· Sustainable Leaders – A balanced fund that looks to provide investors with long-term capital growth by investing in high quality companies mainly based in the UK.
· Sustainable Diversified – A cautious fund that aims to provide investors with long-term capital growth by investing in a mix of investments including equities, corporate bonds, government bonds, property and cash. It is actively managed in order to achieve a balance between growth and risk.
· Sustainable World – A balanced fund with the remit to invest in companies worldwide. It offers long-term capital growth by investing in high quality equities, corporate bonds, government bonds and cash.

The Co-operative Bank offers a full range of banking products from current accounts and savings. It remains the only high street bank with a clear ethical policy that gives its customers a say in how their money is used.

The figures coincide with National Ethical Investment Week which runs from 7th to 13th November. Led by UKSIF, the UK sustainable investment and finance association, the week aims to increase awareness of ethical finance.

Find out more about The Co-operative Investments


Notes to Editors:


£ millions 1999 2008 2009 Growth 1yr Growth 10yr
Ethical deposits £2,149 £6,976 £9,083 30% 423%
Ethical investment £2,872 £6,825 £9,535 40% 332%
Credit unions £149 £478 £579.31 21% 388%
Ethical share issues £1 £74 £78 14% 7751%
Total £5,171 £14,354 £19,274 34% 373%


Total deposits and investments grew by 15% in 2009 to reach £1,080 billion, from £938 billion in 2008. This is calculated from the sum of retail investments and personal deposits in high street banks. Personal deposits in high street banks grew by 4% in 2009 to reach £599 billion, from £576 billion in 2008 (British Bankers’ Association). Total retail investment funds under management grew by 33% in 2009 to reach £481 billion, from £362 billion in 2008 (Investment Management Association).