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3rd August 2005 Ethical savings in the UK break 10bn ($18bn) mark

Article - Ethical savings in the UK break 10bn ($18bn) mark
The amount of money put into UK ethical savings and investments has broken through the £10bn barrier for the first time, a study has said.

Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) said the level of ethical investment rose 18% to £10.6bn during 2004.

A total of £5.5bn had been put into 'socially responsible' funds, the study said, and £5.1bn deposited in ethical banks and credit unions.

CFS added the pace of such investment had accelerated in recent years.

"This a major milestone for the UK's socially responsible investments sector and underlines how UK consumers are increasingly thinking about how they can have influence as ethical investors," said CFS chief executive David Anderson.

Paul Monaghan, head of sustainability at CFS, told the BBC that ethical products were becoming more popular - with investment in ethical investment funds up 30% on last year.

He added investors may have been tempted into the market because some funds have now been in existence for as long as 10 years and so have track records consumers could check out.

Companies that ethical funds put their money into include BT, for its efforts to reduce climate change in the UK, and drugs firms who "make real efforts" to ensure equal access to their products, Mr Monaghan said.

"By and large socially responsible investment is a sound investment - in general, it doesn't outperform and it doesn't underperform," he said.

The CFS study said that the overall ethical consumer market in the UK - including banking and "Fair Trade" products - was worth £25bn in 2003.

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