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The bandwagon comes in various hues of green

Author: Daniel Thomas, Financial Times, Published on: 14 July 2007

...[R]ecently launched financial products now make it very easy for savers and spenders alike to feel they are doing their bit for the environment. Whether or not this is really the case has been questioned, however, with cynics suggesting that green products are...an exercise in hype... "Some of the products being launched are a bit dubious", says a spokeswoman at the Ecology Building Society... Last week, Barclaycard [part of Barclays] launched the Breathe credit card, which pledges to invest 50 per cent of profit into carbon reduction initiatives... A spokeswoman for Moneyfacts, the comparison website, says consumers should instead save the card charges by choosing a better interest rate and plough the proceeds into a green charity of their own choice... The Co-op's [Co-operative Bank, part of Co-operative Group] account...won't invest in companies that have a bad track record, while Triodos Bank only tries to lend to companies that are directly involved in ethical activities... The HSBC account, by comparison, makes no claims to ethical investment... Instead, HSBC has pledged to pay £5 to environmental causes for each current account customer who moves to a paperless account... [The] pledge by Britannia Building Society of planting a tree for every child whose parents open a savings account for them...is very gimmicky, [says the Moneyfacts spokeswoman]. She agrees that the lack of a set definition for green products has made it easy for companies to claim to be helping the environment. [also refers to Giraffe Money (part of Bristol & West PLC), Norwich & Peterborough]

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Related companies: Barclays Bristol & West plc Co-operative Bank (part of Co-operative Group) Co-operative Group Ecology Building Society HSBC Norwich & Peterborough Triodos Bank