To celebrate Good Money Week – which helps you find sustainable and ethical options for banking, pensions, savings and investments – we’re showcasing our ‘Good Egg’ companies. These are financial providers that can PROVE they make a positive difference to the planet and society, as well as their customers. Here we look at Ecology Building Society.
Ecology Building Society is dedicated to building a greener society by providing mortgages for properties and projects that respect the environment and support sustainable communities, funded through its range of simple, transparent savings accounts.
It was founded in 1981 through the efforts of a group of like-minded people committed to building a more sustainable future. To achieve this they decided to form a building society that could help finance environmental building renovations and support sustainable development.
Since then, Ecology has expanded the reach of its lending, but remains committed to its mission and ethical principles.
It first received a Good Egg mark in 2019 (and has had it successfully renewed each year since) in recognition of its commitment to the environment and communities, which runs right back to its origins.
Since 1981 Ecology has lent money to more than 3,500 projects, supporting individuals, charities, environmental businesses and community-led housing organisations to realise their sustainable living ambitions. In 2020 it lent £39.3 million to support 230 sustainable properties and projects.
Ecology doesn’t just support others to try to live and work more sustainability. It puts its ethical principles into practice throughout its own operations, from managing the environmental impact of its offices to its approach to fair pay for staff.
What can you get from Ecology?
The savings account options currently available are:
- Easy Access
- Cash Isa
- 90-day Notice
- Regular savings
The building society specialises in self-build, renovations and conversion projects that are residential, commercial and community. They are discounted for those making their homes more energy efficient – which is 95 per cent of Ecology customers. The discount varies depending on the scale of the energy improvement.
What’s new with Ecology?
In 2020, Ecology became one of the first banks to sign up to the ‘Bankers for Net Zero‘ commitment, alongside fellow ‘Good Egg’ firm Triodos Bank. The initiative sees banks lead cross-sector discussions with businesses and policymakers to outline ways to avoid risk with net-zero and unlock capital to assist with the green recovery.
In June 2021, Ecology became the first building society to publish the carbon footprint of its residential mortgage lending.
Financed emissions arise from the burning of fossil fuels (mainly gas) to heat and power mortgaged properties.
By reporting its financed emissions, Ecology is adding its weight to the growing momentum for all banking providers to measure and disclose their emissions. This will be critical as the financial sector supports the transition to a net-zero economy to meet the Paris Agreement targets on climate change.
Ecology became one of the first members of Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PACF) group when it launched last year. The group plans to launch a report at COP26, building momentum for more banking providers to transparently measure and disclose their emissions.