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UK’s first ‘agricultural bank’ in 100 years swaps paying interest with planting trees

19th August 2021
Posted by Aston Avery

Recently, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his ambition to make the UK one of the world’s most advanced and exciting financial services hubs in the world.

In the first of these steps towards modernising the sector, the Treasury have announced a new savings product that will give the environmentally conscious the opportunity to make a difference with their savings. Called the Green Savings Bond from National Savings and Investments (NS&I), it is designed to raise billions of pounds for environmental projects as part of the government’s plans to hit the government’s net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. While applications open later this summer, the interest rate is yet to be confirmed, and although it has been hailed as a world first, this bond follows some other environmentally conscious products on the market.

One such product is the Oxbury Forest Saver. Offered by the UK’s first agricultural bank in 100 years, the product is a savings account which looks to offset each holder’s carbon footprint. Indeed, rather than paying any interest on such accounts, the bank uses the money to plants trees on the holder’s behalf in one of their two forests in order to counteract their carbon output, with £15,000 of savings mitigating the average person’s emissions for the year. Not only does this supplement the government’s own tree planting targets, which are currently thought to be 40 years behind schedule,4 but it also serves to support UK agriculture in meeting the industry’s 2040 net zero farming target.

Aston spoke to Tim Coates, founder of Oxbury Bank.

Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash