26 January 2016
In 1992, we became the first UK bank to launch an Ethical Policy and we still remain the only UK high street bank with a customer led Ethical Policy underpinning how we do business. To reaffirm our commitment to values and ethics, The Co-operative Bank launched its new expanded Ethical Policy in January 2015, based on the views of 74,000 customers and colleagues who took part in our latest review.
Our Ethical Policy now reflects our customers' beliefs that the way the Bank is run should address issues beyond who we provide banking services to. So, as well as ethical banking, the Ethical Policy shapes the products and services we offer, how we run our business (including relationships with suppliers and external stakeholders), our workplace culture and our commitment to returning to our campaigning heritage.
In the 12 months since the relaunch of the Ethical Policy, we have strived to put it into action that benefits our customers and the wider society. Here are some highlights of how we've been bringing our Ethical Policy to life.
Ethical banking means ensuring we only offer banking services to businesses that reflect our customers' ethical views. In 2015, we expanded our Ethical Policy to restrict the provision of banking services to businesses involved in irresponsible gambling, payday lending and those that do not pay tax responsibly in the UK or elsewhere.
Our Ethical Policy is more than just who we provide banking services to. We look to offer products and services that reflect the values and ethics that our customers believe in. Highlights of the new products and services we've developed in the last year include:
As a result of our continued commitment to treating our customers fairly, we were named the winner of a number of customer service awards in 2015, including:
We congratulate and thank all of our call centre colleagues for their dedication and commitment over the last 12 months.
Conducting ourselves with honesty and transparency is at the heart of our Ethical Policy. Our Policy encompasses commitments around how we operate as a business – including the way we manage our impact on communities and society, our relationships with suppliers and external organisations, and the environment. Our actions to promote ethical business in the last year include:
The actions we have taken to develop an ethical workplace and culture over the past year include:
When we consulted our customers about our Ethical Policy, they told us that they wanted to see the Bank return to campaigning, to address issues and causes where we can help make a difference. In December 2015, the Bank returned to ethical campaigning with the launch of the 'My money, my life' campaign in partnership with domestic violence charity Refuge, raising awareness of the true scale of financial abuse in intimate relationships.
We carried out the UK's largest study to date in this area in order to understand the prevalence of financial abuse in intimate relationships in the UK. The study found that 1 in 5 UK adults is a victim of financial abuse in relationships. We also produced a guide with Refuge, offering support and guidance to victims of financial abuse. For more information on our campaign, please visit our My money, my life campaign pages.
The last 12 months has seen the Ethical Policy expand away from just the ethical screening of business accounts into the way we develop products, the way we do business and the way we impact on the wider society. The above actions are just a small part of the activity that the Bank has carried out to bring our Ethical Policy to life. Every year, the Bank has committed to publish a Values and Ethics report, and the 2015 report to be published later this year will outline all the activity undertaken by the Bank to embed our customers' values and ethics throughout our business.