Environmental, social and governance: what we're doing

Environmental, Social and Governance Approach

Our commitment to the co-operative values and principles on which we were built remains as strong as ever, with ESG principles embedded within the business every day.

Find out more about our Environmental, Social and Governance approach (PDF)

The UK's best rated high street bank for ESG*

In 2023, The Co-operative Bank has once again been rated as the UK’s best Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) high street bank*.

We’re incredibly proud of the score we’ve received, confirming our place as the UK’s best rated high street bank* for ESG. With our ambitious ESG commitments, we're working to maintain this position in the future, as we strive to continually deliver our unique, customer-led ethical commitments to both customers and stakeholders.

*Rated by Morningstar Sustainalytics in the Regional Banks sub-industry with a score of 8.5 as of 9 October 2023.

Our Sustainability Report 2022

Every year we create our Values and Ethics in Action: Sustainability Report to publicly showcase our ESG data and highlights from that year. As the only UK bank with a customer-led Ethical Policy, our yearly sustainability report is a great way for you to see those values and ethics in action, alongside our commitments for the year ahead.

To read our reports:

Download our latest Sustainability Report (PDF)

View previous reports

The Co-operative Bank and ESG: a break-down

The 3 individual areas which make up ESG are:

    E - Environment
    S - Social
    G - Governance

    These 3 areas are designed to help businesses create a socially and environmentally conscious culture, which serves the people, both internally within the business and externally, ethically guides business strategies, and works to protect the environment. Creating long-term, sustainable business.

    How we work in the areas of ESG

    If you have enquiries as an existing investor, or want to find out more about becoming a new investor, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can easily contact a member of our investor relations team using the details below. Learn about our work in environmental focus, social impact and governance below.

    Environmental focus

    Our commitment to protecting the environment was formalised 30 years ago when we launched our Ethical Policy.

    We are pleased to be rated as the UK’s best Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) high street bank by Morningstar Sustainalytics for the third consecutive year, with a score of 8.5 as of 9 October 2023 – the lower the score, the better the rating.

    In 2023, we have also maintained our ratings across other ESG risk rating agencies, receiving an AAA rating from MSCI, and a Prime Rating of C with ISS, reinforcing us as a leader in ESG.

    In 2022, we reduced our emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) by a further 33% and reported an operational GHG emissions intensity ratio of 0.8, a significant reduction on our 2019 baseline of 2.4. Since 2007 we have offset our operational carbon emissions plus an additional 10% to address the impact of our business activities in the past and will offset our 2022 emissions in line with this commitment.

    We recycled 74% of operational waste, with the remaining 26% sent to energy recovery facilities. This is a great improvement on our starting year in 2020, when only 41% of waste was recycled.

    We launched a Renewable Energy Funding Scheme for business customers and…

    Green Further Advances product for our retail customers with c.£315m green asset financing deployed.

    We advocated for reform to combat the financing of the climate crisis by the banking industry, with our partners, Zero Hour.

    Social impact

    We remain committed to holding co-operative principles at the heart of our business and we strive to demonstrate co-operative values in everything we do. We recognise that our impact on society goes beyond our customer base and we therefore seek to drive positive social change, working in partnership and co-operation with charities and community organisations. In 2022, we invested £1.1m in our communities through our partners.

    Our colleagues remain enthusiastic volunteers, fundraisers and campaigners and we were proud to see our colleagues more than double their volunteering hours in 2022 against a 2021 baseline.

    We campaigned to support survivors of economic abuse through the Online Banking Commission on Economic Abuse, and made improvements to our website to help our customers to disclose abuse.


    Co-operative values and the Bank’s Ethical Policy are incorporated into the Articles of Association and established at the heart of our constitution.

    The Board level Values and Ethics Committee ensures that co-operative values and the issues that are important to our customers are reflected in everything we do. It has oversight of the governance around the types of businesses we refuse banking services to, the causes we support and the issues the Bank campaigns on.

    We launched our updated customer-led ethical policy, the sixth iteration since 1992.

    From 2022, colleague remuneration, including that of the Executive team, is assessed annually against our internal performance scorecard. As of 2022, a proportion of our scorecard is made up of ESG performance measures, such as reducing our GHG emissions.

    In 2022, we were proud to publish the sixth iteration of our customer-led Ethical Policy as well as developed a Bank's Green, Social and Sustainability Financing framework and issued our inaugural Green Bond.

    MSCI ESG Ratings logo - AAA rating ISS ESG logo - Prime rating

    Our future ESG commitments

    • We will work to replenish nature-deprived spaces to support the reversal of nature loss and improve biodiversity across the UK
    • We will reduce our direct scope 1 & 2 emissions related to electricity and gas energy consumption by 6% in 2023 with a Net Zero status by 2030, whilst developing a robust programme of work as we strive to decarbonise the Bank and achieve Net Zero status by 2050
    • We will aim to recycle at least 75% of our operational waste
    • We will support customers by helping our customers measure, manage and improve their sustainability
    • We will launch a new ‘Green’ mortgage product to increase our Green, Social and Sustainability eligible lending.

    • We will campaign to transform the private renting sector and protect people at risk of homelessness
    • We will invest in the regeneration and relocation of our existing branches to support the community
    • We will support our communities to thrive by committing at least £30m lending to support businesses, organisations and co-operatives to improve our communities
    • We will put our values into action by increasing our colleague volunteering hours by a further 50%.
    • Through establishing The Co-operative Bank’s Charitable Fund, we will commit a proportion of Bank profits used to drive positive social and environmental change whilst responding to the needs of our communities
    • We remain committed to our aspirational target to have 45% of senior positions filled by women
    • We will ensure that all colleagues, including Board and Executive Committee Members, undertake additional training in Environmental, Social and Governance related risks.

    Introducing our Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) Financing framework

    Our GSS Financing Framework connects our purpose with our wholesale market financing strategy. The framework facilitates secured and unsecured funding of assets with clear environmental or social benefits that contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and demonstrate our commitment to ESG and sustainable finance.

    View our latest GSS Financing framework (PDF)

    View our GSS Financing Framework Second Party Opinion (PDF)

    View our Green Bond Allocation & Impact Report 2022 (PDF)

    View our ICS Green Bond Allocation & Impact Report 2022 Second Party Opinion (PDF)

    Principles for Responsible Banking

    We are proud signatories of the UNEP FI’s Principles for Responsible Banking. The Principles are the world’s foremost sustainability framework for Banking. As part of our commitments we provide regular updates on our progress integrating The Principles into the Bank’s operation and strategy.

    Please see our updates below:

    How we drive social change

    Here at The Co-operative Bank, we know our colleagues and many of our customers are committed to driving social change in line with our Ethical Policy. Below, you can find more information and additional resources on how we support people and their communities:

    • Supporting UK co-operatives by funding our Business Support for Co-ops programme in partnership with Co-operatives UK, a business development programme for co-operatives, and by providing free banking services for UK co-operatives
    • Supporting the third sector by providing free banking to charities, social enterprises and credit unions
    • Our Community Direct Plus customers apply for funding from our Customer Donation Fund twice a year. We have supported over a thousand organisations with over £986,000 of funding; providing a wide range of projects which benefit the community
    • Campaigning for fairer renting with Shelter
    • Supporting survivors of economic abuse and driving positive change for its victims through our Economic Abuse campaigns. In partnership with Refuge
    • Defending human rights in partnership with Amnesty International UK and supporting the activities of our colleague Amnesty Group
    • Through our Everyday Rewards Scheme our customers have helped us donate over £1.5 million for our charity partners since its launch in 2016
    • Supporting our colleagues volunteering and fundraising activities through our employer supported volunteering and match-funding programme
    • Ensuring access to basic bank accounts for under-served members of the community, including prisoner bank accounts and facilitating access to banking for homeless people.

    How our values and ethics guide our business strategy

    Step Up.svg
    Step up
    Do The Right Thing.svg
    Do the right thing
    Take Responsibility.svg
    Take responsibility
    Stronger Together.svg
    Stronger together

    Our Ethical Policy is at the very foundation of who we are, and guides everything from our policies to our business strategies. Below, you can find more information and additional resources on our governing policies and legislation:

    Find out more about Our Policies and our values and ethics.

    Supporting our customers

    At The Co-operative Bank, our customers and their welfare is at the forefront of everything we do. If you're struggling with the rising cost of living, or managing your finances, we're here to help you find the right support:

    Supporting our colleagues

    Here at The Co-operative Bank, we’re proud to be different. We’re even prouder that it’s our ethical approach in everything we do that makes us different. And our colleagues are a fundamental part of that.

    We help our colleagues connect with each other, with our customers, and with their communities. We reward them with more than just a competitive salary — offering an attractive range of benefits that support work-life balance, wellbeing, and career development.

    Our diverse and competitive colleague proposition is underpinned by an environment and culture that attracts, develops, rewards, and retains talent, whilst achieving efficiency and sustainability for our bank.

    Inclusion networks

    Our colleague inclusion networks are sponsored by members of our Executive Team and run by colleagues, for colleagues:

    • Access supports those with disabilities, long-term health conditions, mental health conditions and caring responsibilities.
    • REACH celebrates our Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage – all the things that make us proud to be different.
    • Proud Together represents our LGBTQ+ colleagues across the Bank, and offers support and information on all things LGBTQ+.
    • Elevate is our gender network, supporting colleagues with gender-based issues and working to improve people policies.
    • Futures is our early careers network, providing career development support and opportunities for relevant networking.

    You can read our full colleague proposition (PDF)

    Workplace and culture

    Our Ethical Policy has three pillars – Planet, People and Community. Our People pillar ensures our workplace culture reflects our co-operative values and ethics by focusing on:

    • Our commitment to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter. As one of the first banks to sign up to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter in 2016, we set a target to increase female representation in our senior leadership from 32% to 40% by 2020; and now having achieved beyond this with we have re-stated our target to have 45% of senior positions filled by women by the end of 2023.
    • Supporting our wider communities. Colleagues have the opportunity to take 2 paid volunteering days every year, which colleagues can use to support local and national charities and community organisations. As a major employer in Manchester and the North West of England, we’ve supported a number of events across the region, including Manchester Pride and the Northern Power Women Awards.
    • Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter. We are the first financial services organisation to gain membership status through our ‘commitment to putting good employment into action and being exemplars of employment excellence’.
    • Our co-operative workplace. We work in close consultation with our recognised trade union on proposals for change, and work together proactively to understand the interests and needs of its members and our colleagues.

    Not found what you're looking for?

    Contact our support team