News

ByQuantum Communications

Viral Kindness Scotland launched

A national free helpline in Scotland has been launched as part of a community project involving around 500 convenience stores to help with shopping deliveries and to tackle loneliness.

A number of organisations across Scotland have come together to build a unique community-led response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The service will act as a free hub for local groups across Scotland, and will be used to make connections between people and organisations

The Viral Kindness Scotland project includes:
• Glasgow-based contact centre Go-Centric, which has set up a 24-hour freephone national helpline, website and digital channels, providing its own call-handlers for the project.
• 500 convenience stores across Scotland – 300 from the Day-Today retail chain and 200 from the USave group – which are securing essential goods for those in need and connecting people locally. Many of the stores are run by Scots Asians.
• 250,000 Viral Kindness Scotland postcards will be distributed to stores by the Sarwar Foundation for consumers and shopkeepers to identify vulnerable people in their local communities, which can be returned to the charity by freepost.
• A plea for an army of volunteers to deliver shopping packages to vulnerable residents or offer a friendly chat to help prevent loneliness.

Vulnerable individuals in Scotland can contact the free helpline on 0800 054 2282 if they need help with food deliveries or simply want someone to talk to because they feel lonely and isolated.

Individuals and businesses can also contact the helpline to pass on the details of a vulnerable person, or to volunteer to help.

People can contact the service via the website www.ViralKindness.Scot and using the #ViralKindnessScot hashtag on social media, with a live chat service also due to be introduced.

Shoppers and store owners will also be able to fill out and return the freepost postcards with details of local people they know who might need help.

Information collected by Go-Centric and the Sarwar Foundation about those who need help will then either be passed to local convenience stores, who aim to secure essential supplies for them, or passed to volunteers who can assist with delivering shopping or providing a friendly chat.

Anyone who would like to assist can contact the helpline to register as a volunteer, and businesses which want to help can also get in touch.

Shopping orders will require to be paid for to ensure small businessowners can continue trading, but it is hoped that charity fundraising efforts will help to pay for the goods for some of the most vulnerable people.

The service is not in place of any government-led initiatives, and is designed to be a community-led hub, reflecting the organic growth of local programmes – and it will adapt as necessary.

Call-centre handlers will be able to signpost people to relevant authorities such as local councils, but will not provide medical advice.

Anas Sarwar, MSP for Glasgow and President of the Sarwar Foundation, said:
“The coronavirus outbreak has produced a community spirit across Scotland to help those most in need. Thank you to everyone working on the frontline and all those who are volunteering.
“By pulling together and by mobilising our communities, we can all look out for our families, our friends and our neighbours. Initiatives are springing up organically in communities across the country, which is heart-warming at this worrying time.
“This unique community-led project is designed to help co-ordinate the community response, involving a number of organisations which have come together to provide their services for free, bringing together volunteers, small convenience stores, and a national call centre.
“I hope it will go some way to assisting with the national response to this crisis, ensuring that we spread kindness to those most in need.”

David Harper, chairman of Go-Centric, said:
“On the back of the Sarwar Foundation’s plea to help our communities, my team and I have taken massive action to create a national helpline to support those most in need – connecting them with local convenience stores and volunteers to assist.
“Our service will be available 24/7 on the telephone and online and we are working on a number of other options such as live chat.
“Our people want to help and we are ready to make this happen, and look forward to being the central point for volunteers to register and to help those most vulnerable.”

Mohammed Rajak, owner of the Buywell DayToday store in Bridgeton, Glasgow, said:
“Shopkeepers are at the heart of local communities and we are determined to help identify vulnerable people and secure essential supplies for them.
“We will be handing out postcards to customers, and we are appealing for volunteers to help deliver shopping packages to those self-isolating.
“At times like this, we all want to play our part by spreading kindness in our communities.”

NOTES

For all media enquiries, please contact Alan Roden at alan@quantumcommunications.co.uk or 07753 904 531.

Viral Kindness Scotland

Website: www.viralkindndess.scot
Free helpline: 0800 054 2282
Twitter: www.twitter.com/viralkindscot
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ViralKindnessScot

ByQuantum Communications

2020 global ethical finance summit announced

The 2020 global ethical finance summit has been announced, bringing hundreds of major investors, asset owners and finance leaders to Scotland.

Supported by the Scottish Government and the United Nations Development Programme, the flagship event will focus on building a more sustainable financial system.

With the COP26 UN climate change conference taking place in Glasgow next year, the summit’s theme will be protecting our future.

There will be a focus on how financial services can support inclusive economic growth without depleting natural resources, and how the sector can help deliver the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

It comes after the COP25 climate talks in Madrid ended with a compromise deal on the global response to curbing carbon.

The ethical finance conference, to be held at the Edinburgh headquarters of RBS on October 6 and 7, 2020, is organised by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), which oversees, organises and coordinates a series of programmes to promote finance for positive change.

It follows a hugely successful conference in 2019, which included a keynote speech from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and video addresses from former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and attracted over 350 participants from around the world.

The announcement of the 2020 summit was made at GEFI’s latest ethical finance round table event in Edinburgh, hosted by Baillie Gifford, which addressed responsible investment and more sustainable models for the banking sector.



Omar Shaikh, managing director of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, said:
“The 2019 ethical finance summit attracted major international attention, bringing global leaders together to discuss key challenges including products, culture, system change, regulation and maintaining returns in financial services. 
“A new way requires holistic thinking which is why the summit uniquely convenes the banking and investment ecosystem, addresses the big challenges we face that rethink capitalism, and connects people to enable partnerships to produce ethical financial solutions.
“To build on this desire for positive change, we’re bringing the finance world back to Scotland in 2020 for our next global summit in October.
“With COP26 taking place in Glasgow just a few weeks later, it significantly enhances the global prominence of this year’s summit and provides an excellent opportunity to focus on climate finance.
“Moving from talk to action, our theme will be protecting the future for everyone.”



Kirsty Britz, director of sustainable banking at RBS, said:
“We are looking forward to once again hosting the Global Ethical Finance Summit next year. 
“The conference will be an important milestone in an exciting year for Scotland, with world leaders set to come to Glasgow for the UN’s COP26 climate talks in November.  
“As a founding signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, RBS has committed to further align our strategy with the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. 
“The global ethical finance summit provides an excellent opportunity for us to work collaboratively with stakeholders, peers and partners who are leading the agenda.” 


Andrew Cave, head of governance and sustainability with Baillie Gifford, said: 
“Following the success of this year’s event we are delighted to be supporting Ethical Finance 2020 in Edinburgh next year. 
“The global summit is an important platform for facilitating collaborative and insightful discussions that challenge and inspire asset owners and financial institutions to invest responsibly and take practical actions to deliver positive impact for people and the planet.”


More details on Ethical Finance 2020 can be found here: https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/ethical-finance-2020/

A 2019 event summary can be found here:
https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/EF19-Summary.pdf




ByQuantum Communications

Toybank appeal launched for Christmas

A nationwide campaign has been launched to provide Christmas presents for Scottish families struggling during the festive season.
It will be the seventh annual toybank organised by Anas Sarwar MSP, and this year will extend beyond Glasgow to all parts of Scotland for the first time.
The campaign is arranged by the Sarwar Foundation in conjunction with Children 1st and Scottish Women’s Aid.
Last year, more than 500 toys and vouchers were donated to the appeal, and they were distributed to children identified by the two charities who may not otherwise receive a present, including children living in refuges.
The aim is to deliver presents to at least 1,000 children this year, and supporters can donate on a JustGiving site or directly donate new toys and/or gift vouchers.

Anas Sarwar said:
“There are thousands of children across Scotland who miss out on Christmas.
“With foodbanks on the rise, wage stagnation and increased housing costs, even more families are struggling financially this year.
“Many parents can’t afford any presents for their children, and many youngsters have nothing to open on Christmas Day morning.
“The toybank appeal aims to change that, and I hope people across Scotland will support the campaign.
“We need donations of new toys and gift vouchers to make this a record-breaking year because every child deserves a Christmas.”

Ash Kuloo, member services manager at Scottish Women’s Aid, said:
“We welcome the launch of this campaign, which includes Women’s Aid groups who provide a range of specialist domestic abuse services to women, children and young people across Scotland.
“Children and young people experiencing domestic abuse can already feel socially isolated at times, particularly if they’ve had to leave their home, school, friends and community to escape domestic abuse. Receiving Christmas gifts can help children to feel part of a big social event that they may not have had experience of before.
“We know that women who experience domestic abuse are balancing the financial constraints of that abuse and control and many are living in poverty. This campaign will help make sure that their children will have something to open on Christmas morning and will help relieve some of the pressure that Christmas brings.”

Julie Richardson, Children 1st assistant director in Glasgow, said:
“Thanks to the Sarwar Foundation’s toy appeal, hundreds of children and parents in the south of Glasgow have had the same joyful, happy and exciting Christmas as families less affected by adversity.
“As well as providing gifts, the appeal helps relieve some of the pressures and stress on families experiencing challenging times. Children 1st are delighted to be working with the Foundation and Scottish Women’s Aid to expand the appeal across Scotland and are truly in awe of the generosity and kindness shown by donors, so that families can have a better Christmas.”

Marie Farry, children and young people’s service manager with Glasgow Women’s Aid, said:
“Glasgow Women’s Aid children’s service have benefited from the toybank appeal for many years. This has made a massive difference to the families we work with and has allowed the children and young people to experience a really happy Christmas.”

Donations can be made online at www.justgiving.com/campaign/christmastoybank

Toys and gifts can be dropped off at reception at Bellahouston Business Centre, 423 Paisley Road west, Glasgow, G51 1PZ

ByQuantum Communications

Consumer rights campaign on payday loans

Scotland’s new national consumer advice service has launched a campaign to inform Scots of their rights if borrowing from a payday loan company this Christmas.

The consumeradvice.scot service, run by the charity Advice Direct Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, has also published tips on budgeting to help people avoid borrowing cash at exorbitant rates.

The advice includes highlighting the role of credit unions and the importance of checking the APR percentage figure, not the monthly repayment level.

Consumeradvice.scot was launched in April this year following the devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament, and provides free, impartial and practical advice on any consumer-related issue.

Colin Mathieson, knowledge coordinator with consumeradvice.scot said:


“Christmas is just around the corner, and with that, many of us are tempted – or forced – to overspend and overstretch our finances.
“With parties, dinners and gifts to pay for, we may wake up on the other side of New Year with a nasty financial hangover.
“Banks often have strict guidelines on who can borrow, taking into account their ability to repay, so the alternative for many is to reach out to easier-to-obtain payday loans, with higher rates of interest, resulting in a much larger long-term repayment.
“This can cause those already in debt to become even deeper embroiled in the cycle of further high interest, borrowing to meet loan repayments, and other monthly commitments.
“But it’s important that consumers know their rights and many customers and former borrowers of payday loans do have the ability to claim back the exorbitant interest that they have lost.
“And by following our tips on budget management, people across Scotland can avoid resorting to payday loan lenders.”


Consumer rights:

The Financial Conduct Authority has a ‘good practice customer charter’ which sets out rules that payday loan companies must follow.

It states that payday loan companies are responsible for ensuring that the affordability of any loan is assessed, including any potential customer’s financial situation and personal circumstances.

When a customer is unable to realistically pay back the loan at the time it is taken out, then the company should refuse the application.

The rules are established so that lenders should also inform applicants that this method of high-interest borrowing is not intended as a long-term financial solution, and that customers should not be entering into an agreement for such a payday loan if they are experiencing financial difficulties.

By writing to the lender, advising them of the facts and outlining what the customer would like the payday lender to do about this, they may be able to get interest on existing loans frozen, or alternatively, be able to repay the balances over a longer period of time.

In this situation, the lender is required to respond within five days of receipt of the letter, acknowledging the complaint and advising what the next steps in the process will be.

If a further response is not received within eight weeks, then a complaint can be made to the Financial Ombudsman Service, advising that a satisfactory response has not been received from the payday lender within the outlined timescales.

Consumer advice:

  • Plan meals and save pounds – By planning meals in advance and writing a shopping list before going to the supermarket, you can avoid waste and the purchase of unnecessary items.
  • Credit unions care – A loan from a credit union can be much cheaper in the long-run than a payday loan. Save to borrow and borrow locally.
  • Compare prices and shop around – The increasing cost of living is one of the biggest costs that encourages people to take out payday loans. Shop around for things like energy costs and mobile phone contracts and remember to switch to better deals when they become available.
  • Remember it’s the APR % that stings and not the monthly payment – Higher rates of interest (APR %) can be what cost more in the long run. Remember to compare interest rates as opposed to the monthly repayment amounts.
  • Sleep on a purchase – Remember that impulse buys and items that are unnecessary can seem less appealing in the morning. Consider expensive purchases for longer and ask yourself if you really need them.

Case study

Callum, 26, from Glasgow, contacted consumeradvice.scot about his experiences with payday lenders after being refused a personal loan and credit card with his bank due to not meeting the affordability criteria set out in the application process.

“My wages have always been lower than my friends. They can go away for weekends and holidays without as much thought about the costs involved. For me, having to save for these luxuries, whilst paying my monthly bills means making a lot of sacrifices and living cheaper.

“I’d paid the flights and accommodation off by saving, but the spending money was a struggle for me…Ibiza isn’t a cheap place to go to and I borrowed £800 for the week. It was all very well and good at the time of the holiday, but the following month the realisation hit me that the monthly repayments were so expensive, almost £270 per month, and in the long-term, paying back almost double what I had borrowed when paying this over six months.”

Callum had to take out another three payday loans to make the monthly commitments and quickly found himself digging deeper into debt. It was only by understanding his rights as a consumer and understanding that the payday loan company should not have originally authorised his loan that he was able to take back control.
He used the process outlined by consumeradvice.scot to regain control of his finances, allowing him to clear loan balances over a longer period of time.



consumeradvice.scot is operated by the charity Advice Direct Scotland. Consumers can seek help in a number of different ways: freephone 0808 164 6000; online and web chat at www.consumeradvice.scot; and email via advice@consumeradvice.scot

Consumer advisors can provide practical and impartial advice on how to resolve consumer problems, inform people of consumer laws which may apply to their situation, provide template letters which consumers can use to contact the trader or service provider they are having issues with, and pass relevant information onto Trading Standards for further investigation. They cannot make a complaint on an individual’s behalf or carry out any legal action on an individual’s behalf.

ByQuantum Communications

Bonfire and fireworks advice

Scots have been issued with advice on how to safely enjoy this year’s Bonfire Night.

The country’s new national consumer advice service has published advice around fireworks sales, the impact on pets, and how to stay safe.

Last month, a Scottish Government consultation found that 94 per cent of people want more controls over the sale of fireworks and 87 per cent would welcome a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public in Scotland.

Sainsbury’s has announced a ban on the sale of fireworks and other retailers are selling low-noise fireworks.

Advice from consumeradvice.scot on fireworks and bonfires:

The law:
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 requires a retailer to display a sign where fireworks are supplied or exposed for supply, stating that it is illegal to a) sell adult fireworks or sparklers to anyone under 18; b) for anyone under 18 to possess adult fireworks.
Anyone with concerns about illegal fireworks can contact consumeradvice.scot for free, impartial and practical advice.

Animals:
Keep animals indoors, in the quietest part of the property.
Pets should not be left alone for long periods of time, especially on the louder nights, and owners are advised to act as calmly as possible with pets, rewarding calm behaviour, using the sounds of TV or radio as background noise and comfort.

Safety:
Always try to attend an officially organised display – be aware of surroundings if setting a bonfire at home
If a bonfire must be set at home, ensure this is kept well away from buildings,
vehicles, trees, hedges, fences, power lines, telecommunications equipment and sheds. Bonfires should not impact upon visibility on roads or otherwise inconvenience vehicles.


Be conscious of your own and neighbour’s wellbeing (including any animals)
Ensure that smoke / flying embers from the fire do not cause a nuisance to neighbours’ person or property. Remember that certain materials can cause the emission of harmful smoke and combustion. Pressurised containers and sealed vessels amongst bonfire material pose a risk of explosion – be aware. Ensure pets are kept indoors and in as quiet a place as possible.


Alcohol and fire don’t mix
Don’t go near fireworks or bonfires when under the influence of alcohol. Ignoring local by-laws and drinking in public places is still illegal. Police may issue fixed penalty tickets or send a report in relation to this to the Procurator Fiscal.


Don’t throw fireworks onto the bonfire and avoid use of flammable liquids to ignite bonfires.
Use proprietary firelighters and avoid flammable liquids


Never leave a burning / smouldering bonfire unsupervised and never leave children unsupervised.
Make sure that bonfires are completely extinguished and not left unattended. Keep children safe by ensuring they are kept away from bonfires and at a safe distance from fireworks.

Lorna Yelland, team leader with consumeradvice.scot, said:
“This Bonfire Night, the best advice is to enjoy it safely.
“When buying fireworks, the law is clear – it is illegal to sell adult fireworks to children or for anyone under 18 to possess adult fireworks.
“This can be a stressful time for pets, and we would advise owners to keep animals in the quietest part of the property and act as calmly as possible if fireworks are going off outside.
“It is vital to stay safe, and the best advice is to try to attend an officially organised display. If you are building a bonfire at home or setting off fireworks, be aware of surroundings, be conscious of your neighbours and pets, never leave children unsupervised, and remember that alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.
“Anyone with any consumer-related queries can contact the national consumer advice service, consumeradvice.scot, for free, impartial and practical advice.”

NOTES

consumeradvice.scot is the country’s new national consumer advice service, and was launched in April this year with Scottish Government funding following the devolution of further powers to Holyrood. It provides free and impartial advice to people on any consumer issues.
Experts advise people of their legal rights, and can also refer complaints to Trading Standards Scotland for investigation, but cannot carry out legal action on a consumer’s behalf.
The service is operated by the charity Advice Direct Scotland.

ByQuantum Communications

International Islamic finance taskforce established

A new international taskforce is to be created with the support of the UK Government to engage the Islamic finance industry with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The high-level Islamic Finance and Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) taskforce will be anchored in London and run by the Glasgow-based Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC).

Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said the new initiative will ‘drive forward innovation around the world’.

The UK Government will be the founding country partner when it begins in 2020, with an aim to promote understanding and encourage adoption of the UN SDGs amongst Islamic financial institutions.

Gatehouse Bank has confirmed participation and interest has already been expressed from Malaysia and Dubai, as well as other UK organisations.

The UN’s SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, addressing issues such as climate change, education and equality.

But a recent analysis from UKIFC and Malaysia-based ISRA found a considerable lack of knowledge, misunderstandings and minimal engagement by Islamic financial institutions with the SDGs.

Islamic finance is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global financial industry, with assets expected to reach US $3.8 trillion in 2022.

Innovative financial structuring in the sector can help create instruments that drive capital towards the SDGs.

The UK – and London in particular – has already become a centre for Islamic finance, helping finance developments such as The Shard and the Olympic Village.

In 2014, the UK Government cemented the UK’s position as a hub for Islamic finance by becoming the first western country to issue sovereign Sukuk – Islamic bonds.

With the City’s strength in conventional financial services, the strong legal framework and progressive outlook it continues to intellectually innovative and assist developments in the global Islamic finance arena.

The UKIFC was established in 2005 as a specialist advisory and developmental body focused on promoting and enhancing the global Islamic and ethical finance industry. It was the first global specialist Islamic finance body to sign up to the UN Principles of Responsible Banking (PRB).

With Gatehouse Bank the only fully Shariah-compliant signatory, the UK is leading the way in relation to the Islamic finance sector’s engagement with the global framework that aligns with the SDGs.

In 2016, the Church of Scotland and the UKIFC signed a partnership agreement to co-develop an ethical finance solution open to all society, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background and based on the shared values between the faith traditions.

The UKIFC supported this month’s Ethical Finance 2019 global summit in Edinburgh, which brought together over 400 senior representatives from more than 200 companies and organisation.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP, said:
“The UK is a world leader in Islamic Finance, so I am pleased we’re now a founding country partner and observer member of the new Islamic Finance SDG Taskforce.
“This Taskforce will bring together the global Islamic finance community so it can help us meet our international, environmental and sustainability objectives – using UK expertise in sustainable finance to drive forward innovation around the world.”

Richard de Belder, Advisory Board Member of the Islamic Finance Council UK, said:
“Delivering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will require private sector involvement.
“But business-as-usual in the global financial arena will not deliver the 2030 goals.
“A step-change in private investment in SDGs is required, and Islamic finance, as one of the fastest growing sectors in the global financial industry, provides a unique opportunity for innovative solutions.
“We need a fairer system of financial management that delivers more than just profit and the inherent principles within Islamic finance are naturally aligned to the sustainability agenda.
“This new taskforce will explore ways to bring people and institutions together to help achieve the UN SDGs.”

Charles Haresnape, CEO, Gatehouse Bank, said:
“We welcome the opportunity to support and participate in the Islamic Finance and Sustainable Development Goals Taskforce.
“Our Shariah-compliant finance principles mean that our products and services are ethical by design and as a founding signatory of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Banking, Gatehouse Bank has committed to strategically aligning its business with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“We are confident that the taskforce will play a significant role in identifying innovative solutions for sustainable finance in the future.”

NOTES

More information on the Islamic Finance Council UK can be found here: https://www.ukifc.com/

The Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC) is a specialist, not-for-profit, advisory and developmental body focused on promoting and enhancing the global Islamic and ethical finance industry. It has helped six countries develop enabling regulatory frameworks for Islamic finance, enhancing financial inclusion to over 15 million people, established the award-winning Ethical Finance Round Table series running since 2010, launched the world’s first joint venture between Islamic finance and the Church of Scotland, and delivered development sessions to over 500 Islamic scholars across the globe.

The framework of an Islamic financial system is based on elements of Sharia (the law of Islam) which governs Islamic societies. The fundamental concept of Islamic finance is that money has no intrinsic value and should only be used as a measure of worth.

ByQuantum Communications

Only 13% of Scots chose their pension investment portfolio

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ETHICAL FINANCE HUB

Only 13 per cent of Scots who have a pension actively chose their own investment portfolio, a new poll has revealed to mark the start of a global summit on ethical finance.

The YouGov poll of over 1,000 adults in Scotland also found that nearly a third don’t have a pension at all.

But two-thirds of Scots said it is important that banks and other financial institutions take into account ethical, environmental and social issues when making investments.

As individuals increasingly look towards modifying their buying and disposal behaviour to mitigate against climate change, the evidence suggests that many consumers are unaware of the positive impact they could have through closer management of their pensions.  

The research was commissioned by the Ethical Finance Hub as part of the Ethical Finance 2019 global summit which gets underway in Edinburgh today, bringing together over 300 senior figures from more than 200 companies and organisations, representing global assets worth $10trillion.

It aims to promote a fairer system of financial management that combines profit with better outcomes for people and the planet.

There will be a keynote address from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and video addresses from former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

The YouGov poll reveals:

•            86% of adults in Scotland do not consider they are an investor in finance.

•            But a majority of Scots are investors in finance because they have a pension, while 29% said they do not have a pension.

•            Only 13% of those with a pension actively chose their own pension/investment portfolio; while 44% said their provider invested their pension in a ‘default’ fund.

•            67% said it is important that financial institutions take into account ethical, environmental and social issues when making financial investments.

•            63% said it is important that financial institutions should have a critical role in addressing the current climate situation.

Ethical finance is a fairer system of financial management that combines profit with better outcomes for people and the planet.

The Edinburgh-based Ethical Finance Hub is focused on raising awareness, educating and facilitating practical activities such as research, events and projects that support the growth of the ethical finance sector.

This week’s event, organised by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) and held at the RBS headquarters in Edinburgh, will focus on promoting the Scottish capital as the global home of ethical finance, with an opportunity to create thousands of sustainable job opportunities.

The summit will also explore how to make finance investments work for the planet in the face of the climate emergency.

The two-day event is supported by the Scottish Government, and bodies represented include the United Nations, Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority, RBS, Baillie Gifford and HSBC.

Chris Tait, project manager of the Ethical Finance Hub, said:

“The global summit in Edinburgh will bring together the world’s business, political, and social leaders to build a fairer finance system for people and the planet.

“Ethical finance matters for people because, over the years, trust in banks has diminished and today’s generation of consumers believes that investment decisions should reflect the issues they care about, such as the environment.

“That’s why this poll shows that two-thirds of Scots believe it is important for financial institutions to take into account ethical, environmental and social issues when making their investments.

“But any individual with a pension is an investor, even though they may not necessarily consider that they are.

“Very few people choose their own pension investment portfolio, so a greater shift towards personal demand for ethical finance will encourage banks and asset managers to do the same.

“With nearly a third of adults in Scotland not having a pension at all, it’s also time to raise awareness of the importance of making ethical investments in the future, both for individuals and the planet.”

ENDS

NOTES

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,008 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd – 7th October 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).

The full tables can be downloaded here

More information on Ethical Finance 2019, including a list of speakers, is available here

More details on the Ethical Finance Hub are available here

ByQuantum Communications

New crackdown on ticket tout scams

Scotland’s consumer advice service and Trading Standards have teamed up to tackle ticket tout scams.

Music, theatre and sports fans are being encouraged to contact the consumeradvice.scot service if they don’t receive the information they are entitled to when purchasing a secondary ticket in person or via a resale website.

Consumers can receive free and impartial advice on their rights as part of the awareness campaign, and the body can also pass information to Trading Standards for investigation.

consumeradvice.scot is the country’s new dedicated consumer advice service, which is operated by the charity Advice Direct Scotland. It provides advice, assistance and information to people on a range of consumer issues and concerns.

The awareness campaign highlights that consumer protection law means sellers must tell buyers:

•            Where they will be sitting or standing, and if this has a restricted view;

•            Information about any access restrictions such as an age restriction, a requirement for particular ID or a credit card to access the venue, or if the ticket is for a disabled access area;

•            The original face value of the ticket(s);

•            Whether they have any relationship with the secondary ticketing platform, the organiser, or their agents.

Recently, East Ayrshire Council’s Trading Standards service issued a financial penalty to a prolific ticket reseller located in the west of Scotland. 

This was the first such fine to be issued in Scotland and, on being paid without appeal, has also become the first successful case of its kind in the UK. 

The financial penalty related to tickets being resold for Still Game’s run of shows at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. Information regarding the seating location was not disclosed, contrary to s.90 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. 

Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of consumeradvice.scot, said:

“When it comes to secondary ticketing, Scots consumers have rights they may not be aware of. Buyers must be told where they are sitting or standing, any restrictions, and the face value of the ticket.

“Our advisers can offer free and impartial advice on consumer rights, and by teaming up with Trading Standards Scotland we can report instances for investigation where sellers have not complied with the requirements.”

Fiona Richardson, chief officer of Trading Standards Scotland, said:

“The law clearly sets out the information consumers must be told, and need to know, in order to make informed choices in this market.  We would urge anyone with information about misleading ticket sales, to report this to Trading Standards via Advice Direct Scotland.  We are committed to working with local authorities and other partners, to take action where the law is being broken.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

consumeradvice.scot is operated by the charity Advice Direct Scotland. Consumers can seek help in a number of different ways: freephone 0808 164 6000; online and web chat at www.consumeradvice.scot; and email via advice@consumeradvice.scot

Consumer advisors can provide practical and impartial advice on how to resolve consumer problems, inform people of consumer laws which may apply to their situation, provide template letters which consumers can use to contact the trader or service provider they are having issues with, and pass relevant information onto Trading Standards for further investigation. They cannot make a complaint on an individual’s behalf or carry out any legal action on an individual’s behalf.

Trading Standards Scotland is the national team for trading standards in Scotland. The team is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and managed by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA); the representative body of local government in Scotland.  Operationally, TSS undertakes cross boundary and national enforcement work on consumer protection matters in Scotland.  It also has a duty to co-ordinate and assist local authority trading standards teams in taking local action on issues of national significance.

ByQuantum Communications

New tartan showcases UN’s goals

The world’s first tartan celebrating sustainable development goals (SDGs) has been created and presented to the United Nations in New York.

Read some of the media coverage in The National here

The innovative project is designed to help promote the goals worldwide and demonstrate Scotland’s support for the aims, using all 17 colours of the UN’s SDGs.

SDGs are a collection of global goals to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all which were set by United Nations General Assembly in 2015.

The prototype tartan was the brainchild of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) and designed in conjunction with renowned Edinburgh-based kiltmakers Slanj, and has received the support of the Scottish Government.

Along with a letter from the government, the design was this week unveiled to Achim Steiner, the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, at the UN General Assembly in New York.

The prototype tartan will now be reviewed and submitted for entry on The Scottish Register of Tartans, and will later be used for kilts and other products.

In Scotland, the SDGs are implemented as part of the government’s national performance framework.

GEFI brings together the world’s business, political, and social leaders to build a fairer finance system for people and the planet. It wants a fairer system of financial management that delivers more than just profit.

It will host a global summit on ethical finance in Edinburgh on October 8 and 9, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivering the keynote speech and a video address by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Chris Tait, Executive Manager of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, said:
“The connection between the UN’s sustainable development goals and Scotland inspired us to create the world’s first SDG tartan.
“This project aims to further promote the goals both in Scotland and worldwide through an easily recognised visual symbol for all the SDGs, which also clearly links to Scottish culture and history by using a tartan.
“It’s the perfect metaphor for the importance of looking at the SDGs as an interconnected unit to build a fairer world, rather than looking at each SDG individually.
“Achim Steiner was delighted with the tartan and said he would be hanging it on his wall.”

In a letter to Mr Steiner, Ben Macpherson MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development, wrote:
“Tartan has an iconic status globally and domestically in Scotland, and is instantly recognisable as Scottish. The new SDGs tartan links Scotland’s rich cultural past and our outward facing future together with our core values, historical and contemporary, of fairness and equality.
“It is fitting, therefore, that GEFI have developed this new Tartan as a symbol of Scotland’s dedication to achieving and promoting the SDGs both at home and overseas.”

Brian Halley, managing director of Slanj, said:
“It has been an honour for Slanj to work on the SDG tartan and products with the GEFI team.
“We hope that this wonderfully vibrant tartan design can help highlight and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

NOTES

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can be found here: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html

More information on the Global Ethical Finance Initiative is available here: https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/

The tartan is using all 17 colours of the SDGs. The colours for the tartan were carefully chosen: the thicker horizontal stripes are the for the SDGs representing the biosphere – SDG6, SDG13, SDG14, SDG15. They are horizontal as they are the fundamental basis for all the other SDGs that cut across them. The thicker vertical stripes represent SDG8 – SDG most important for financial services, SDG10 and SDG17 – representing the importance of partnerships globally and for achieving the aims of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative.

What is the Global Ethical Finance Initiative?
The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) oversees, organises and coordinates a series of programmes to promote finance for positive change.
It brings together the world’s business, political, and social leaders to build a fairer finance system for people and the planet.

What is ethical finance?
A fairer system of financial management that combines profit with better outcomes for people and the planet.

Why does ethical finance matter?
Although ethical finance is not a new concept the financial crisis has led to a growing interest in sustainability, climate change and social justice. This has seen a collective desire to create a fairer, more inclusive and responsible global financial system.
Trust in banks is diminishing and today’s generation of consumers believes that investment decisions should reflect the issues they care about. Ethical finance in the UK is valued at around £40billion, creating thousands of sustainable job opportunities.
Today, with the world facing a climate emergency there is a pressing need to develop environmentally sustainable financial solutions.

ByQuantum Communications

Nicola Sturgeon – Scotland can be global HQ of ethical finance

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to deliver the keynote address at a world summit that will promote Scotland as the international home of ethical finance.

Ethical Finance 2019 will be hosted by the Scotland-based Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) in Edinburgh on October 8 and 9, bringing together over 300 senior representatives from more than 200 companies and organisations.

Ms Sturgeon will say Scotland can be the global headquarters of ethical finance, while there will also be a video address from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

GEFI works towards a fairer finance system for people and the planet, focusing on sustainability, climate change and social justice.
Ethical finance in the UK is valued at around £40billion, creating thousands of sustainable job opportunities.

Scotland has a long history of social enterprise with a growing reputation in ethical finance. The robust financial services sector in Scotland has strong ethical roots, and a reputation for innovation, research and development. It is a world leader in climate change and has an opportunity to build on this when Glasgow hosts the UN’s climate change summit, COP26, in 2020.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Scotland’s approach to economic growth is centred on making sure that it is inclusive, sustainable and fair.
“Those same values are at the core of the global discussion on ethical finance, a discussion that has a natural home in Edinburgh the heart of Scotland’s thriving financial sector, with a long history and global reputation for innovation.
“Ethical Finance 2019 will bring financial leaders together to demonstrate the vital role finance will play in addressing the most pressing global challenges and creating positive change – and I look forward to taking part.”

Omar Shaikh, managing director of GEFI, said:
“Scotland has been a pioneer in financial innovation and the development of professional standards.
“The failure of trickle-down economics to fairly distribute wealth and encourage inclusive growth, the damaging impact on the planet of the unchecked pursuit of profit, and the banking scandals of the past decade means that ethical finance has never been more popular or needed.
“At this global summit we will explore how to create a better holistic system of financial management that delivers both profit and social returns, and positions Scotland as the global HQ of ethical finance.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

More information on the Global Ethical Finance Initiative is available here: https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/

More information on the summit, including details on tickets and speakers, is available here: https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/ethical-finance-week-2019/

What is the Global Ethical Finance Initiative?
The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) oversees, organises and coordinates a series of programmes to promote finance for positive change.
It brings together the world’s business, political, and social leaders to build a fairer finance system for people and the planet.

What is ethical finance?
A fairer system of financial management that combines profit with better outcomes for people and the planet.
The full working definition of ethical finance:
A system of financial management or investment that seeks qualitative outcomes other purely the management of returns. Outcomes sought may reflect ideas from faith, environmental and governance theories.

Why does ethical finance matter?
Although ethical finance is not a new concept the financial crisis has led to a growing interest in sustainability, climate change and social justice. This has seen a collective desire to create a fairer, more inclusive and responsible global financial system.
Trust in banks is diminishing and today’s generation of consumers believes that investment decisions should reflect the issues they care about. Ethical finance in the UK is valued at around £40billion, creating thousands of sustainable job opportunities.
Today, with the world facing a climate emergency there is a pressing need to develop environmentally sustainable financial solutions.

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