A leading figure in Britain’s mutual sector is celebrating 25 years of service to “green” investments
Paul Ellis, the longest standing CEO in the UK building society sector, is celebrating a quarter of a century at Yorkshire based Ecology Building Society, including 22 years as chief executive.
Mr Ellis has overseen an increase in assets of more than £150m since his appointment. Ecology’s mission is to build a greener society, providing mortgages for properties that support sustainable communities and respect the environment. It supports eco renovations, refurbishment and eco new builds, as well as community-led housing.
“We are really contributing to building the blocks, or pointing the way to a new economy,” Mr Ellis said. “We’ve proved the sustainability of our model that pursues values.”
Under Mr Ellis’s leadership, Ecology has widened its remit from residential-only mortgages, to lending for a wide range of commercial and community-led housing projects. Last year, Silsden-based Ecology lent more than £30m for sustainable properties and projects.
Born in Hull, Mr Ellis’s father served in the Forces. The family lived all over the world giving him an “internationalist outlook”.
He said: “I very quickly gained a feeling we needed to protect our natural environment. I then allied that into an interest in social justice. Without social justice you can’t protect our natural environment, and we need to protect it for all our sakes, and future generations. Everything I do is driven by that.”
He studied European integration at the London School of Economics (LSE). Ecology supports small-scale and community developments in a UK market that Mr Ellis believes is “controlled by a handful of large developers, which means affordability is a permanent problem”.
Ecology is the first building society in the UK to be awarded the Fair Tax Mark, an accreditation that promotes responsible taxation.