The Cost Of A Social Conscience · Ethical Parents Forced to Pay an Extra £700 in their First Year(1); Top 10 Ethical Conundrums for Parents

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Ethical issues are a must and not a maybe in today's society. But new figures from Family Investments, the market leader in Child Trust Funds (CTFs), find that being an ethical parent is not only heavy on the conscience, but also on the purse. It can cost an extra £700 in the first year to buy eco-friendly baby essentials - with the choice between 'ethical' and standard versions of nappies and baby food topping Family's poll of parent's top ethical concerns. Given that parenthood is an expensive time, many could be putting off saving the planet for saving their pounds.

The cost of being 'green' - can parents afford it?

Product                                Standard price                         Organic/ethical price

Nappies                             £3.79 (20 pack)(2)                                £14.70(3) ( 36 pack)

                                                 19p per nappy                         41p per nappy

Baby food                                 £0.63 per jar(4)                             £0.79 per jar(5)

Children's clothes,                         £1.50                             £4.65

e.g. t-shirts                                        

Baby products,

e.g. Baby Oil (price per 100ml)    £1.75 (£3.50 per bottle)     £3.00 (£6 per bottle)

Total price per year                 £835.17                             £1,532.19    

On top of the ordinary stresses of parenthood, an increasing number of new parents are concerned about how environmentally active they are when it comes to bringing up their children. Recent research conducted by Family shows that almost half (42%) of the parents interviewed are concerned that they should be using ethical products when bringing up their children. However, it seems that a social conscience comes at an additional cost and clearly the desire to be green isn't an easy option for cash-strapped parents.

Parents' top ten 'ethical' concerns

Family Investments asked parents what they considered to be their biggest worries when it comes to being a 'green' parent. While the debate of formula over breast milk topped the poll, concerns over whether to use standard or renewable energy in the home are on the rise(6) .

Top ten active concerns for parents             % of 264 interviewed parents

1. Breastfeeding vs. formula milk                66

2. Disposable vs. reusable nappies                51

3. Standard vs. organic baby food                42

4. Hospital birth vs. home birth                35

5. Standard toiletries vs.

'free from' toiletries not tested on animals         31

6. Private vs. state education                 27

7. Private healthcare vs. NHS                 22

8. Standard vs. renewable energy                 20

9. Standard toys vs. non toxic toys                 18

10. Standard vs. non toxic paint and furniture     17

The second biggest concern for new parents trying to be 'ethical' is choosing the right nappy variety. Parents are forced to pay more than twice the price when buying eco-friendly nappies; given that the majority of parents (22%) are only willing to pay around 50p more for a packet of 'ethical' nappies, it appears that the economy rather than the environment will ultimately win out. This is unsurprising, as new born babies go through an estimated 2,000 nappies in their first year.

But being ethical doesn't have to cost the earth!

The increasing popularity of ethical products has reached the world of personal finance. For instance Family Investments now offers an ethical CTF - an easy way for parents to make a 'green' decision, without the additional cost often encountered elsewhere. A large proportion of parents (64%) have said they would choose such an ethical CTF over a standard one if the terms and prospective returns were the same(7) . Family's ethical CTF has been designed to meet this need, by providing parents with a way to save for their child, safe in the knowledge that their money is not being invested in companies they believe are engaged in 'unethical' activities(8) .

John Reeve, Chief Executive of Family Investments said: "The cost of being a parent is growing and the added pressure now of choosing ethical or organic products can overwhelm parents living on stretched budgets, especially as families learn to cope with the cost of a new baby. Family Investments hopes to ease one of the many decisions facing parents by offering an ethical Child Trust Fund that can help parents build up a worthwhile sum, without sacrificing their desire to be 'green'."

Parents can find out more about Family's ethical CTF, or set up an account for their child direct with Family either by phone on 0800 616695 or online at http://www.familyinvestments.co.uk.

About Family Investments

Family Investments is the trading name of Family Assurance Friendly Society - one of the UK's largest Friendly Societies with in excess of £1.7bn funds under management and over 800,000 members

Family Investments is the market leading Child Trust Fund provider with our Child Trust Fund account available in over 18,000 high street locations - four times greater than any other provider. Family's partnerships include the Post Office, Barclays, Sainsbury's Bank, Bounty, Coventry Building Society, Bradford & Bingley, Clydesdale Bank, Northern Bank, Yorkshire Bank, MGM Assurance and Early Learning Centre.

In March 2006, Family won a prestigious Parent Friendly Award from the baby charity Tommy's as 'Best Children's Savings Account' in recognition of their parent friendly products and services.

Family Investments is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Please remember investment values can fall as well as rise

Press Contacts

John Reeve, CEO, Family investments, on 01273725272

Miles Bingham, Marketing Director, Family Investments on 01273725272

Mandy McAndrew, Account Executive, Hill & Knowlton on 02079734446

(1)This figure was calculated comparing the differences in the cost of a year's supply of baby food, nappies, baby oil, and clothes for ethical and normal products

(2)Average cost of a 20 pack of nappies (e.g. Pampers Baby-Dry Nappies: 20 per pack)

(3)Average cost of a 36 pack of eco-friendly nappies ( e.g. http://www.soorganic.com/cart.php)

(4)Average cost of parents baby food (e.g. Heinz Mum's Won Casserole with apple and pork baby jar)

(5)http://www.ethicalfoods.co.uk/rdas/papp.asp?cmd=SE&Flt=0
(6)YouGov interviewed a random sample of 264 adults with children eligible to hold CTFs (born on or after 1st Sept 2002) online on 12 - 14th September 2006. Interviews were conducted across the country and results were weighted to the profile of all adults

(7)YouGov interviewed a random sample of 264 adults with children eligible to hold CTFs (born on or after 1st Sept 2002) online on 12 - 14th September 2006. Interviews were conducted across the country and results were weighted to the profile of all adults

(8)For example, companies who generate significant turnover from testing cosmetics or toiletries on animals: from alcohol or tobacco: or from using intensive farming methods.

Family has worked out the average costs of parenthood by asking a small focus group of parents about their buying habits and using the above products to work out average costs

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LIZ GODDEN
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