Our values and ethics in action: 2020 Sustainability Report

1 March 2021

3 min read

In 1992, we became the first UK bank to introduce an Ethical Policy shaped by our customers’ ethical concerns. Within the Policy, we promised to produce an annual report highlighting the actions we have taken over the previous year to uphold our commitments. Because what matters to you matters to us, and remains at the heart of what we do.

Our 2020 highlights

We are pleased to share our 2020 Sustainability Report, detailing our values and ethics in action over the last 12 months. In what has been a difficult time for all of us, colleagues have pulled together to support our customers and communities, and maintain the ethical commitments we have made to you. We’ve continued to manage our impact on the environment, champion the co-operative sector, and support our charity partners through the challenges of the pandemic. 

You can take a look at some of our 2020 highlights below, or read the report in full here: 2020 Sustainability Report (PDF).

Ethical banking:

  • We still decline banking services to businesses whose activities conflict with your views on issues like climate change, animal welfare, human rights and social inclusion.
  • We’ve continued to support co-operative businesses, with a total £1.7 million investment in The Hive since 2016.

Ethical products & services:

  • Through our products, our customers have donated over £1 million to their chosen charities since 2016.
  • Customers and colleagues helped us raise £347k to tackle youth homelessness with Centrepoint in 2020, with a total of over £1.7 million raised for the charity since 2017.

Ethical business:

  • We’re not just ‘net zero’. We’re beyond carbon neutral, and have been since 2007.
  • We have a vision of a greener future and, in 2020, we achieved our target of ‘zero waste to landfill’.

Ethical workplace & culture:

  • We now have 42% of women in senior roles at our Bank, and continue our focus on delivering our five-point gender diversity plan.
  • We’ve been awed by the work of our incredible NHS staff throughout the pandemic. We allocated £100,000 to NHS Charities Together, and donated care packages and headsets to local GPs.

Ethical campaigning:

  • Following our ground-breaking ‘My money, my life’ campaign in 2016, we’ve once again partnered with Refuge to help people to recognise the signs of economic abuse with our ‘Know Economic Abuse’ campaign.
  • We’ve continued to campaign for human rights in partnership with Amnesty International UK.

Our commitments in 2021 and beyond

We’re incredibly proud of our achievements in 2020 and since the launch of our Ethical Policy, but we know there’s more work to be done. That’s why we’ve set out our environmental, social and governance commitments for 2021 in our 2020 Sustainability Report (PDF). As we look to the future, we will continue to strive to make a positive difference to our customers, communities and the world we live in.

Thank you to our loyal customers for your continued support, and to our colleagues for your commitment to our values and ethics every single day. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the report, so let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, using the hashtag #EthicsInAction. Because, when we co-operate, we really do make change happen.

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