RECORD Money: TIME TO GO GLOBAL.. Take Ethical Choices with Your Money and Planet Will Benefit

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Byline: By ALEX MORGAN

BY MAKING a few simple changes to the way you organise your finances, you could help to save the planet.

Constant news reports about global warming, wars and disease can leave you feeling pretty powerless. But by transferring to green or ethical financial products you can make a difference - and it needn't cost the earth.

A survey by financial website Fool.co.uk found the majority of people who don't already class themselves as green consumers want to do the right thing - but the price has to be right too.

David Kuo, the site's head of personal finance, says: "Consumers are frequently torn between a desire to help the environment and a need to be financially prudent."

Ethical and environmentally conscious providers rarely top the best buy tables but that doesn't mean you can't find worthwhile products if you're willing to shop around.

Lisa Taylor, of Moneyfacts.co.uk, says: "It's a bit of a mixed bag. In some product areas you can't get a competitive deal, in others you can.

"There are some good products out there but you've got to look beyond just the ethical aspects."

MORTGAGES AND LOANS

The main players in the ethical mortgage market are the Ecology Building Society,

The Co-operative Bank and its internet arm, Smile. The Co-op and Smile don't invest in or accept money from business involved in the arms trade, human rights abuses or environmentally damaging practices.

The Ecology offers residential loans from 6.4 per cent interest a year, compared to around five per cent for the best deals currently available from mainstream lenders.

However, the Co-op has mortgages starting at a much more competitive 5.39 per cent for a two-year variable discount, while Smile's best rate is an attractive 5.09 per cent for a similar deal.

If you're looking for a personal loan, the Co-op and Smile's rates start at a better-than-average 6.9 per cent.

Only a few other providers - led by Alliance & Leicester, Master loan and Money back Bank at 5. …