As savers look to utilise the £20,000 ISA allowance before the tax year-end, research released by Triodos Bank has found that many are being led by their values
- New survey shows 42% of British savers would save in an ISA if their money could have a positive impact
- More than half (56%) would also switch if they found their money was being lent in areas which negatively affect people or the environment
- 72% think banks need to be more transparent when it comes to disclosing where savings are lent
- 34% are interested in shopping around for new ISA options but have not got around to it
As savers look to utilise the £20,000 ISA allowance before the tax year-end, research released today by Triodos Bank, Europe's leading sustainable and ethical bank, has found that many are being led by their values.
This attitude is being driven by savers desire to create change and have a more positive impact on society. The research shows 42% would be motivated to save in an ISA if they knew their money would be used to finance things that improve society, such as low-carbon energy generation, social housing or community projects. An additional 56% say they would switch savings providers if they found out their money was being lent in areas which negatively affect people or the environment.
While savers are aware of the need to open, or transfer into, an ISA that works for them, more than a third (34%) have not yet got around to doing so. However, more might switch if they found a provider which matched their values. Three-quarters (72%) think banks and other financial providers need to be more transparent when it comes to disclosing where savings are lent and two-thirds of savers (67%) would like to know where their bank lends their money.
Despite this demand, awareness of savings options which offer transparency and a positive impact on society is low. Almost half (47%) are not aware of options to save in products that only use the money to finance organisations that make a positive difference. The vast majority (80%) currently have no idea where their bank lends their money.
Bevis Watts, Managing Director at Triodos Bank UK, said: "Many savers are putting transparency and positive impact at their top of their criteria. It is time that ISA providers offered the transparency that people deserve - the fact that the vast majority of savers currently have no idea where their bank lends their money isn't in their interests. At Triodos Bank, we are 100% transparent and in that way, can show that we direct money to help change lives, build stronger communities and protect the environment."
Oscar-winning actor Sir Mark Rylance said: "I believe you can make a conscious, positive choice about banking - just as you can with food, energy or transport. It's time people woke up to what banks are doing with their money. I've banked with Triodos for many years now and appreciate their ethical and transparent approach to supporting environmental, social and cultural change."
Of the issues that Britain is facing, savers are most concerned about our aging population and the availability of appropriate housing:
1. Growing elderly population - 78%
2. Availability of social housing - 78%
3. Developing a sustainable food and farming system - 77%
4. Breakdown of local communities - 73%
5. Need to shift to a low-carbon economy - 64%
6. Funding for the arts - 31%
Triodos Bank now offers a full range of ethical ISAs, including Cash ISAs, a Stocks and Shares ISA and more recently an Innovative Finance ISA via the new Triodos Crowdfunding platform. Triodos only lends to organisations generating social, environmental or cultural benefit. This includes social housing, charities and social enterprises, renewable energy, organic food and farming and fair trade.
As well as cash ISAs, many are looking at new options in the ISA market. While awareness of new Innovative Finance ISAs is still low, the research showed that a tenth (10%) plan on opening one in the next year, with an average investment of approximately £8,500.
Important information: As with all ISA's, any tax savings depend on personal financial circumstances and interest rates can go down as well as up. With Stocks and Shares ISAs there is a risk to capital; the value of investments can fall as well as rise and you could get back less than you invested.
Case studies of Triodos ISA customers and businesses/ projects funded by Triodos are available upon request.
For further information please contact:
 Research conducted by Opinium Research on behalf of Triodos Bank, 9th to 12th February 2018, among 2,002 nationally representative UK adults (aged 18+). Of those 1502 have some sort of saving product.
About Triodos Bank
Triodos Bank is a global pioneer in sustainable banking using the power of finance to invest in projects that are good for people and the planet. Triodos uses its €13.5 billion (2016) in assets to create social, environmental and cultural value in a transparent and sustainable way.
With UK operations based in Bristol, Triodos Bank has branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany and an agency in France. Globally, Triodos Bank has microfinance projects in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a worldwide network of 43 banks seeking to transform finance into a vehicle of positive influence.
Triodos Bank NV (incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands with limited liability, registered in England and Wales BR3012). Authorised by the Dutch Central Bank and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request. Firm reference number 183366.
The Triodos Crowdfunding platform offers a range of crowdfunding opportunities enabling people to invest directly in equity or bonds issued by organisations delivering positive social and environmental impacts. The bonds are eligible to be held in the Innovative Finance ISA. In our survey, a third (36%) said they would be more willing to trust a crowdfunding site if it was run by a bank or building society.
Investments offered on the Triodos Crowdfunding platform are not readily realisable, which means that they may be difficult to sell and you may not get back the full amount invested. Investments are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and your capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed. Repayment of capital and interest or payment of dividends will be dependent on the success of the organisation's business model and past performance isn't a reliable indicator of future performance. You should always read the offer document in full before deciding whether or not to invest as it will cover risks specific to an individual investment. You can read more about the general risks associated with making these types of investments here. If you are unsure if any of these investments are right for you, you should contact an Independent Financial Adviser.