The Green Economy

Several inspirational leaders of countries around the world are using the economic reboot after Covid-19 to encourage a green agenda.   It is such an amazing opportunity but sadly our backward thinking ‘dinosaurs’ in the UK aren’t picking up on it much. I’ve been signing so many petitions this week to nudge the government into a greener direction. What saddens me is that we have good green innovative business ideas here, but it appears the financial backers are a bit slow on the uptake.

Photo by Tobias Rehbein on Unsplash

 Earlier this week, I read a very interesting article about a Professor from the University of Birmingham  who is recycling old computer parts, salvaging the rare earth component , neodymium. It is used in most technologies from smartphones to TV screens. He’s the director of a company called Hypromag that recycles and reuses it in the making of electric cars.

 At least the Covid bug has made countries think about the precariousness of sourcing resources from one country and the benefits of reusing materials rather than creating new mines. It is companies like this that the country needs to support (not subsidising the outdated airline industry that causes so much pollution).

Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

Apart from signing petitions and sharing information about companies Hypromag and the wonderful company called Pavegen (they build pavements that generate electricity from people’s footsteps) what can we do in our own lives to improve our green economic footprint?

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Personally I try and make sure that all my utilities are sourced from ethical and green companies. The Phone Co-op, which is ethically run and owned by its members, is amazing. You have to invest in a share to join, (it used to be £1 minimum) but then you get some of the money back in the form of a dividend every year. They are always so kind and helpful when you ring them up for support or help with an issue.

Photo used with the kind permission of The Phone Co-op

Good Energy is well established and totally renewable energy supplier. They are one of the first so haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, like the newer companies. They have some interesting articles and information.

As regards investments, the Ecology Building Society is one of the oldest and most established route for green mortgage and savings. . Again, I love them. They are so friendly and helpful, with a good ethical stance on all they do.  Triodos Bank  is apparently good for green banking but they charge for running your account.  The Coop Bank  is still the only UK High Street bank with a customer led ethical policy.

Photo used with kind permission of Ecology Building Society

Another ethical and good source for banking is your local Credit Union. You can save and/or loan through them. Credit Unions are run by their members, for their members and again, they share the profits as a dividend. To belong to a C.U. you need to share a ‘common bond’. Sometimes that is through work (like the police C.U.) other times it is geographic. (e.g. Leeds City C.U. or Calderdale C.U.) Each one is slightly different. You need to check out your local one to find out what they can offer.They are developing more and more banking services, but the advantage of them is that they help to support the local economy and keep the money going round to support local people, businesses and services. Quite a few Credit Unions are now using a banking platform online, which makes it much easier to use.

Logo used with kind permission of C.C.U. Ltd

With any financial institution make sure it is regulated by and registered  with the FCA (if it is in the UK) as that will ensure your money is protected.

I know I keep plugging it but ‘The Doughnut Economy’ by Kate Raworth  is a great guide as to how a proper green and caring economy should work. 

So there are a few ideas to use your money in a sustainable way. The more we put our money where our mouth is, the more the governments will have to listen. Economics is not my favourite subject, but it is economics that runs everything. So if we get that right, the rest will fall into place. As I said at the start, we have an amazing opportunity here. Let’s not squander it…

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