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Ethical choices for your monthly bills

a lightbulb made out of a plantAs the song goes, it’s not easy being green. Just as you expect to pay more for organic food, there was a time when you accepted paying a premium for making ethical choices when arranging your insurance provider or electricity supplier.

Now, with the backing of Government initiatives, it’s possible to make ethical choices when arranging essential financial services and still pay market-competitive prices.

Ethical motoring

You do not need to buy a car that runs on nitrogen in order to be environmentally friendly. ibuyeco is an eco car insurance provider that offers consumers a number of eco-initiatives to suit different needs. For every policy sold, ibuyeco donates £5 to an eco charity of the customer’s choice, at no extra cost. Not only is it the largest carbon neutral insurance provider, but ibuyeco is underwritten by a number of market-leading insurance providers.

The Co-operative Insurance, sister company with the Co-operative, has had social and environmental responsibility at the forefront of its business policy since its formation. It believes sustainability equals profitability, and was the first insurer to launch a green end-to-end motoring product from underwriting through to the claims process. Materials are recycled by their appointed repairer mechanics and the carbon emissions of every vehicle covered are offset for the length of the policy.

...and beyond!

Ethical choices can extend beyond environmental concerns . Insurepink was created by Fiona Macrae who found it difficult to get reasonably priced travel insurance after having suffered from breast cancer. Even though she had finished her treatment, premiums Fiona was quoted were hundred times what they were before she was diagnosed. They now offer home and motor insurance and donate £10 for every policy sold to the Pink Ribbon Foundation. Hastings, the parent company have also launched insureblue for men diagnosed with prostate and testicular cancer – and have plans to expand to other areas too.

Electricity is a necessary part of life. Short of setting up a wind turbine in the garden (difficult if you live on the fifth floor) it can sometimes feel small measures aren’t enough. As well as avoiding leaving things on standby and leaving lights on when we leave a room, why not switch to a green energy tariff? Each of the ‘Big Six’- the UK’s largest energy providers- has a green option, so you can have all the advantages of a competitively priced corporation with none of the environmentally unfriendly disadvantages.

Alternatively chose a specialist provider such as Ecotricity. For every pound customers spend on electricity, Ecotricity spend an equal amount building new sources of green electricity such as wind farms. They promise to match the prices of the Big Six standard tariffs across the UK.

It’s also easier than ever to cut down on your water consumption. Small steps within your home can dramatically reduce water waste, and – if your supply is metered – your water bill. Popping a water hippo, or just an old-fashioned brick, in your cistern can save up to three litres of water every time the lavatory is flushed. Installing tap aerators can save you £40 a year by reducing tap flow from an average of 15 litres a minute to just six.