Going green keeps climbing up the ladder of important global issues and the signs are it will become the single most important concern of the 21st Century.
Major events such as the G8 conferences and Live Earth concerts will continue to use their global reach to engage people on a mass scale. The world’s most important politicians and most famous stars are standing together to raise awareness of the need for all of us to take action against global warming.
At the centre of the debate is the term "carbon footprint". In layman’s terms that’s the amount of harmful carbon emissions or greenhouse gases a certain human activity produces. Put simply, the smaller your carbon footprint, the less harm you are doing to the planet.
So what can you change in your life to do your bit? For all the massive initiatives taking place around the world, individuals need to find something they can do locally, not globally. We can only affect what we know.
One area that is of increasing interest is finance. More and more financial companies such as credit card providers, banks and building societies are trying to find ways to invest more ethically for the sake of the environment. MoneyExpert has found a few examples of places you can go to do your bit without breaking the bank or running a marathon…
There are only a few dedicated ‘green’ credit cards, where spending money on a card means a direct contribution is made to environmental causes. The latest is the Barclaycard Breathe Card. It’s made out of environmentally friendly materials and will issue you a recycled card when you need a reissue.
The Breathe card also promises to:
- donate 50% of all profits from the card to environmental projects that help reduce carbon emissions
- guarantee a £1m donation in its first year
- offer discounts on buying green products and services
Click here for the Breathe Card
Other cards include the Smart Credit Card, where customers can offset their carbon emissions for a year, and the Co-op Green Peace card, which donates £15 to Green Peace when you open account, plus 25p for every pound you spend on the card.
Green mortgages were first launched by the Co-operative Bank in 2000. It remains the most ethically committed bank of all. The Co-Op makes a donation to a climate change organisation for every mortgage on its books – it’s reported the total amount it has donated since 2002 is close to £1.5 million.
And others are following suit – HBOS, Abbey, and the Yorkshire Building Society have announced plans to introduce green financial products. London and Country will plant 50 trees for every mortgage taken out this year and Giraffe will offset 5.5 tonnes worth of carbon emissions for each year of a mortgage deal taken out by a customer.
Ibuyeco at www.ibuyeco.co.uk enables drivers to offset 100% of their carbon emissions. It offers two quotes – one for your premium, the other to offset your emissions.
MoreTh>n offers all new customers free carbon offsetting for the first 3,000 miles they drive if their insurance is bought online. Drivers with hybrid, electric and alternative fuel vehicles are offered a discount of up to 15 %
CIS Eco-Insurance offsets 20% of the carbon emissions of a policyholder’s car.
So when your insurance is up for renewal, or you’re thinking of getting a credit card, take a moment to consider what part you can play in helping to save the planet. It may seem like a lofty goal, but if we all do our bit, as the saying goes, anything is possible.