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Britain coming around to green goods says ethical bank Cahoot

18 April 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Britons are prepared to spend extra if they know that they are buying environmentally friendly products, green bank cahoot has found.

New research has found that 40 per cent of British consumers are prepared to pay 10 per cent more for green goods, which include organic, recycled and energy efficient products, encouraging optimism in the ethical banking industry.

Women are the greener sex, with 69 per cent saying that they regularly try to buy environmentally friendly goods at the supermarket compared with the 58 per cent of men who said that they take this into consideration.

People aged 65 and over are the most environmentally conscious age group, with 72 per cent striving to buy green, compared with the least environmentally aware age group of 18-24 year olds, just 52 per cent of which consider the environment when they're shopping.

Buying UK grown fruit and vegetables is also important for the 71 per cent of Brits who consider their carbon footprint when doing the weekly shop, where women are once again more likely to go green.

"It's great to see that so many of us are developing a conscience when it comes to our weekly supermarket shop" said Matthew Timms, director of cahoot.

"Of course, as economic conditions become tougher and belts are tightened, it's going to be difficult to keep buying more expensive environmentally sound products, but making the most of supermarket special offers and cash back deals will help those who wish to continue to help the environment in a tangible way."

Ethical banking customers at cahoot benefit from competitive rates in return for paperless banking and a cheque book-free account which offers a higher return on interest, but it is questionable what such customers' motives are, when it makes good financial sense as well as being good for the environment.

David Hall, who works for The Climate Group, has no pre-conceptions about the priorities of the consumer. "We're not yet at a stage where consumers are inspired to be green, but if you make it easy for them they will take the first step", he told the Financial Times.

Mr Hall is skeptical ethics will ever win against economics. In an article he wrote for The Guardian, he commented that "If defeating global warming requires us to defeat global capital too, I would suggest we all give up now and start building our arks."

Andy Redfern, who co-founded admits that only about half of the people that shop there are motivated by ethical principles, and that many are merely looking for a particular gadget, such as the solar-panelled iPod charger which is handy for festivals.

As the credit crunch tightens people's spending habits, the Green party is concerned that voters will become selfish and abandon environmental issues in favour of the economy. However, the Greens are running on the principle that greener living, such as loft insulation and green energy, can mean cheaper living too.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd