The Ecology Guide to Simple and Sustainable Savings

Member speaking at the Ecology AGM

Saving Money Can Make A Positive Impact

Saving money is an important part of your financial planning. It can help build financial security, achieve long-term goals, gain financial independence, reduce debt and prepare for the unexpected; it can even improve your mental health.

But did you know that the way you save and who you save your money with could also have a positive impact on the environment and the way we live?

By saving with a sustainable or ethical provider you can actively contribute to positive change. It could be as simple as opening a savings account with a lender who only provides mortgages to properties and projects that benefit the environment; or it could be putting money into an ISA with a bank that only invests in organisations that benefit the community and the planet.

If we are to provide future generations with a more sustainable way of living (reducing carbon emissions, end fossil-fuel production, prevent further deforestation etc), we need to radically rethink how we spend and save our money.

But how can you tell if a bank or building society is truly ethical, environmentally-friendly, sustainable? Many financial institutions ‘talk’ about their green credentials, but how much of it is true or meaningful?

This Ecology Guide series will help you navigate through the minefield of ethical and sustainable finance. We will look at current attitudes and barriers to ‘green savings’ and discuss the benefits of saving sustainably. We will consider how green your savings are and demonstrate that not all providers are the same with regards to ethics or sustainability. We will look at ‘greenwashing’ and assess ways of questioning or testing the ‘greenness’ of a financial provider. We will look at how banks and other financial providers invest your savings and show examples of how Ecology’s savers power the funding of ecological homes and sustainable communities. Finally we will look at types of sustainable saving products (e.g. savings accounts, cash ISAs, stock and shares ISAs, Premium Bonds etc) and find out it’s not just about price comparison sites and interest rates.

We want to show how an individual can have a genuine positive impact: Not only to their own financial and mental wellbeing but also on the planet, its environment, its people and communities, simply by saving wisely and sustainably.

5 Reasons Why You Should Save Money

Saving money offers several benefits that contribute both to your financial security and your health and well-being. We understand saving can be hard, especially during a cost of living crisis. A 2024 Finder survey found that around 68% of UK adults have some money in savings with an average of £11,185 per person. However, almost half (46%) have savings less that £1,000 which would mean, based on average monthly household income spend, they would struggle to survive more than a month on their savings alone. More worryingly, 1 in 6 UK adults have no savings at all, that’s around 8.7 million people!

Despite the struggles, saving money has never been more important and here are 5 good reasons why:

Financial Security:

Saving money contributes to long-term financial security. It helps you achieve financial goals such as buying a home, starting a family, funding education, or going on holiday. By putting away a little sum regularly, you can save enough to create a buffer against unexpected events or major life changes, providing a sense of stability and confidence for your future.

Safety Net/Emergency Fund:

Creating a safety net for emergencies is crucial for financial security. Building up an emergency fund helps to cover unexpected costs such as car repairs or sudden job loss. This can also help you avoid getting into debt, giving you the option to use your savings without relying on credit cards or loans during challenging times.


Knowing that you have savings provides peace of mind. It reduces financial anxiety and stress, allowing you to deal with life’s challenges more comfortably and make decisions based on long-term goals. Indeed, a 2016 study indicates that having easily accessible cash savings offers a greater level of happiness than the impact of mere earnings, investments, or indebtedness.


Saving money not only provides a safety net for emergencies but also offers more flexibility in your day-to-day life. Having a fund to fall back on can provide you with a cushion during times of redundancy or between jobs. It may give you the opportunity to work part-time or retire early, spending more time pursuing a hobby or vocation.

Opportunity to Help Others:

Saving money grows capital which can be used to explore various investment options (e.g. business opportunities, bonds, the stock market etc). And these investments, of course, have the potential to grow your wealth over time through interest, dividends, or capital appreciation. On the other hand, you can use your accumulated savings to help others more directly, for instance: family members, charities or community organisations. But here’s a thought: by saving money more sustainably you can actually do both: you can invest in something that benefits you financially and others. In other words, saving money and saving the planet is not mutually exclusive.

5 Reasons Why You Should Save Sustainably

Saving money sustainably means adopting financial practices that not only benefit your personal finances but also contribute positively to the environment and society. Here are a number of reasons why saving money sustainably is important:

Environmental Impact:

Saving sustainably can play a role in addressing the climate emergency; it can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and minimize our carbon footprint. By choosing a financial provider that invests in the development of clean technologies and renewable energy sources or one that supports projects that prioritise sustainability and the protection of the environment and our natural resources, you can contribute to a healthier planet and help combat climate change.

Social Responsibility:

Sustainable savings earn interest while also supporting companies that prioritize sustainability and social responsibility. Support companies with ethical business practices, for example, and social responsibility initiatives that promote positive social change. For example, businesses that promote fair labour practices, living wages and community development all of which help create a more equitable society.

Long-Term Economic Stability:

Sustainable saving takes a long-term perspective on economic and ecological stability. Investing in sustainable industries can help create jobs and stimulate economic growth, contributing to the development of a more resilient and stable economy no longer reliant on ever-diminishing natural resources or fossil fuels. Sustainable saving can also reduce risk by avoiding investments in companies that engage in unethical or unsustainable practices.

Health and Well-being:

Choosing products and services that are environmentally friendly promote and develop a better living environment for all (e.g. cleaner air and water). Additionally, supporting companies that prioritise employee well-being can contribute to a healthier, happier and more motivated workforce.

Future Generations:

Saving money sustainably is an investment in the well-being of future generations. By making environmentally and socially responsible choices today, you contribute to a better world for your children and grandchildren, ensuring that they inherit a planet with ample resources and opportunities.

Saving Money: Saving the Planet

In summary, saving money is a crucial aspect of personal finance that offers a range of benefits: long-term financial security, a safety net for unexpected expenses, reduced debt, greater peace of mind and opportunities that benefit yourself and others.

Saving sustainably offers all the above benefits plus it can positively impact the environment, economy, and society. By investing in sustainable products and services you can make a positive contribution to the development of clean technologies and renewable energy sources, to more sustainable business practices and lifestyles that minimise the carbon footprint, mitigates climate change and protects our precious natural resources.

Saving For Positive Change: Lindy and Daniel’s Story

Although saving money can help build an emergency fund for all those nasty unexpected and unwanted expenses, the money you save can also be used in a more positive and sustainable way. This was the case of long-term Ecology Members Lindy Williams and Daniel Powell.

At Ecology Building Society the money from our savings and ISA accounts power the funding for sustainable lending to properties and projects that support communities and have a positive impact on the environment. Lindy and Daniel have been savers with Ecology since the 1980s and used these savings to fund their own home energy-efficient enhancements.

The couple immediately made environmental improvements to their property, starting with wall and loft insulation and then, most recently, installing solar panels with battery storage. They paid for these using savings they’d built up with Ecology. Then, last year, the couple withdrew additional funds to replace two downstairs windows with double-glazed alternatives, and also to pay for an air source heat pump. The pump and the solar panels mean they no longer need to use gas, reducing their carbon emissions and fuel bills in the longer term. They’re hopeful the savings on their fuel bills will help them to top up their savings account again, allowing them to fund further energy-efficient improvements in the future too!

Find out more about our range of Savings Accounts

Published: 17 April 2024

Author: Pauline Crawford