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Getting behind green finance: building societies step up

14 January 2020: Paul Ellis is heartened that support for a green agenda in finance has improved; but this CEO of Ecology Building Society, and Finance for the Future Award winner, warns that there can be no sitting back.

We have reached a tipping point. Paul Ellis has finally detected a point where the science around climate change has developed to the point where the wider community is catching up. The building society sector has responded with a number of players meeting to discuss the formation of a Green Finance Task Force to help tackle this problem and marshal the sector behind the provision of green finance.

The potential players are diverse. From large to small, regional to national, beginners to experienced; but the common theme has emerged as a passion to make a difference.

Ecology itself falls squarely into the experienced camp. It has been committed to building a more sustainable future for more than 35 years by providing lending for properties and projects that have a positive environmental or social impact. The company’s pioneering range of C-Change discounts incentivise energy-efficiency by reducing the mortgage rate based on the property’s energy performance.

Ecology is also a leading lender for community-led housing which typically delivers affordable and comfortable energy-efficient homes, reducing bills, tackling fuel-poverty as well as decarbonising housing. As part of its wider commitment to sustainable development it is also working to reduce both its carbon footprint and wider use of resources.

The company is now looking to form partnerships with other companies in the supply chain, such as energy assessors and contractors. Going forward, retrofitting older properties, sharing knowledge and collaboration are all on the agenda across this emerging sector.