From using unleaded petrol to recycling paper, we are constantly reminded to be aware of the damage we are doing to our planet. But how many people can say they think green when considering their mortgage?
The answer, it seems, from this week's cover story starting on page 42 is not very many. But whether this is the result of lenders and brokers ignoring an untapped market or simply lack of demand from the public is unclear.
A number of providers offer ethical mortgages including The Co-Operative Bank, the Ecology and Norwich and Peterborough. But part of the problem is that the rates tend to be less competitive than mainstream mortgages.
Though many people like to be seen as being environmentally conscious, this doesn't extend to situations where the cost is higher, as ethical mortgages can often be. The public may be willing to shell out a few extra pennies for an organic egg but they don't seem to want to pay more every month for the next 25 years to live in a green home.
And some brokers feel green mortgages have too much of a novelty feel to them – that they are not taken seriously and there is a 'gimmick factor' attached to being labelled a green lender.
Green mortgages are regarded by some as a niche product that doesn't have much of a future, despite more responsible attitudes to the environment.
On a subject closer to most peoples' hearts in the industry is the issue that has reached boiling point in the run-up to Mortgage Day – do packagers have to be regulated or not? Despite the Financial Services Authority issuing more clarification packagers remain uncertain on what route to take. Many are saying they plan to make a precautionary application to the FSA and leave it to the regulator to tell them whether this is required.
But whatever you plan to do, do it now as time is fast running out.