Oxbury Bank, the first 100% dedicated agriculture bank for over 100 years, has announced the launch of a ground-breaking new carbon-mitigation and biodiversity-promoting savings account.
Oxbury Forest Saver enables consumers to save securely and direct their savings interest to fund dedicated woodland creation projects on farms across Britain, while also helping to maintain a thriving farming and rural community. This unique, UK-first product enables savers to reduce the impact of CO2 emissions and enhance biodiversity.
Oxbury Forest Saver is a truly unique product which offers a 12-month savings bond (fully protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme), with savers’ annual interest at a rate of 0.7% AER directed to fund tree-planting projects run by leading sustainability partner Forest Carbon.
To begin with, trees will be planted in dedicated new woodland in the Scottish borders, with other farm sites across the UK to follow. Forest Carbon’s woodland creation projects meet the highest standards of the internationally recognised UK Woodland Carbon Code and are audited and accredited by Organic Farmers and Growers and the Soil Association.
The importance of woodland to reverse biodiversity loss and protect and enhance the prosperity of the rural economy was set out clearly in the Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta’s review for the Treasury published on 2 February 2020.
Tim Coates, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer at Oxbury Bank, commented: “Climate change has rightly risen rapidly up the agenda, but practical options for consumers to make their own significant contribution to reversing the impact of climate change are remarkably few and far between.
“The publication of the Dasgupta Review earlier this year makes it even clearer that biodiversity enhancement also needs direct financial support and Oxbury Forest Saver is taking this challenge as seriously as carbon emissions.
“Oxbury Forest Saver will have a uniquely positive impact - protecting customer savings and the planet, while also supporting British farming - and with interest rates at all-time lows it offers our customers a cost-effective way of making a meaningful difference as they save.”
Forest Carbon Co-Founder, Stephen Prior, said: “For 15 years Forest Carbon has been at the forefront of innovation in this area - being the first to create carbon funded woodlands and peatland restoration projects. We have very much enjoyed working with the forward-thinking team at Oxbury over the past 2 years, and we think Forest Saver is a fantastic way for people to put their money to good works in a transparent and quality assured way - the impacts will be real, measured and monitored.
”Latest research from Oxbury Bank and FindOutNow shows that more than half of Brits - 58% - are worried that many companies efforts to demonstrate their climate change credentials are driven by PR purposes rather that serious attempts to be environmentally responsible:
• 58% of Brits agree that companies' climate change promises are being driven for PR purposes, rather than genuine efforts to be serious about tackling climate change
• Men are the most sceptical of the genders, with two-thirds of men (66%) sceptical vs 49% of women
• Young Brits (in the age group 18-24) also show the most concern at 64%, followed by the over 65s (61%)
Kevin Hollinrake MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on Fair Business Banking, which coordinates the Bankers for Net Zero initiative, said: “Oxbury’s Forest Saver looks like exactly the kind of innovative new approach banks need to be offering customers if green finance is going to move beyond warm words to specific positive action. The great thing about this new product is that it will help change behaviours by specifically linking the amount people save with the amount of impact they can have in helping to tackle climate change. I’m not aware of any other savings product that links savings amounts with climate impact - and what’s more people’s savings will be used to support a great British industry like farming.”
Oxbury has a deep commitment to helping farm businesses build a more sustainable industry and is already the first British bank to mitigate all its emissions as it grows, including all personal carbon emissions of employees from the day of foundation.