Values and Ethics

We were born from the co-operative movement. We continue with co-operative values.

We believe we have a duty to use our voice and stand up for causes that matter to you.

ESG - how we compare

Our Sustainability Report

People with purpose

Our campaigns and fundraising

Our Ethical Policy

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Proud to be the UK's best rated high street bank for ESG*

At The Co-operative Bank, we’ve championed sustainable banking for almost 30 years. For us, taking an ethical approach is just how we do things by supporting local communities, treating our customers fairly and honestly, and paying people a living wage.

But we also try to tackle some of the big issues too. We’re beyond carbon neutral and send zero waste to landfill. We campaign alongside Amnesty International UK to fight injustice, work with Refuge to challenge economic abuse, and give homeless young people a voice with Centrepoint. We’ve also invested £1.7 million in supporting co-operative businesses since 2016.

These efforts have now been recognised by independent experts Sustainalytics, who have given us the best ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) rating of any UK high street bank.*

Visit our investors page to find out more.

*Rated by Sustainalytics in the Regional Banks subindustry with a score of 9.2 as of 11 June 2021.

Sustainability Report 2020: Our Values and Ethics in Action

Our agenda

Our commitment to the co-operative values and ethics on which we’re built remains as strong as ever. Our Ethical Policy has been shaped by customers for over 25 years, and upholding our sustainability commitments is a big part of making sure our Ethical Policy is at the heart of what we do making a difference to the environment and the communities in which we live and work. With sustainability rooted in our foundations, we work to create a long-term, sustainable business that makes a positive difference to our communities.

Our latest sustainability report

Our Values and Ethics in Action Sustainability Report for 2020 demonstrates our sustainability highlights for the year and our commitments for the future, including; protecting the environment, creating a positive societal impact and reflecting the co-operative values and ethics in everything we do.

Download our latest report

View previous reports

Our 2020 highlights

Poster advising we have donated almost £100,000 to 106 local community projects during the pandemic
Poster advising we have been carbon neutral for over 10 years
Poster advising we continue to decline business banking services due to conflicts with our ethical policy
Poster advising we've raised awareness of economic abuse in partnership with Refuge
Poster advising we have invested £1.7m in the hive since 2016
Poster advising that through our products our customers have donated over £1m to their chosen charities since 2016
Poster advising we've achieved zero waste to landfill
Poster advising we have raised a total of over £1.7m for Centrepoint since 2017
Poster advising we now have 42% of women in senior roles at our bank

Our future sustainability commitments

We are proud of our sustainability achievements in 2020, and we want to do more throughout 2021, and in the future. As we look towards 2022 and our 150th year, we're committed to:

  • Building a greener future for young people: Maintaining the ‘better than net zero’ position we have held for over 10 years and supporting small businesses to promote a healthy environment.
  • Co-operation for the nation: Supporting the co-operative sector and creating opportunities for our customers, colleagues and charity partners to bring about meaningful social change.
  • Inspiring others: Developing a target-driven sustainability strategy with co-operative values and ethics at its heart and linking executive pay to the achievement of our environmental, social and governance targets.

People with purpose

At The Co-operative Bank, we have always been driven by something different: an ethical approach to banking. It's why we were the first UK high street bank to introduce a customer-led Ethical Policy - a policy that's been shaped by over 320,000 customer responses since 1992.

In 2017, we marked the 25th anniversary of our Ethical Policy. We have worked together to tackle the things that matter to you. From climate change to human rights. And while a lot has changed in that time, we're as committed as ever to:

  • Listen and care about what matters to you.
  • Make sure that your money is being used for good.
  • Campaign for what you think is right.

It's an ongoing effort, and it's our written promise to make sure your money and ethical values always go hand in hand.

Learn more about people with purpose

Our campaigns and fundraising

Photo of a woman with her two sons at a skatepark.

Ethical screening and making the right choices

We do not provide banking services to businesses and organisations that conflict with our Ethical Policy. That’s why we screen businesses that apply for our accounts.

More about ethical screening

Photo of a woman cutting a ribbon surround by members of her community.

We are committed to being an ethical bank

We’re the only UK high street bank that’s guided by a customer-led Ethical Policy. Find out about all of our ethical commitments, from human rights to the environment.

More about ethical banking

Photo of a woman paying with her debit card at a hardware store with her sun.

An ethical bank, with ethical products and services

We actively support businesses that are in tune with our values and ethics. We treat our customers fairly and we’re committed to making changes for the better.

Our ethical products and services

All our campaigns

Our work to tackle youth homelessness with Centrepoint.

Learn more about our work with Centrepoint

Our Ethical Policy

We’ve reviewed our Ethical Policy five times since it first launched in 1992 - and periodically conduct customer polls to ensure that policy still reflects what you care about.

We are in the process of collating the 2021 poll responses which will help us to shape our Ethical Policy that will be launched in 2022.

You can read our current Ethical Policy, and the results of our 2014 poll below.

Read our Ethical Policy

Read our Values and Ethics poll 2014

Our Ethical Policy covers five key areas:


Ethical banking

We’re clear about the types of organisations we will and won't provide banking services to.


Ethical products and services

We are a responsible bank that treats customers fairly. We support organisations that make a positive difference for people and the environment.


Ethical business

We conduct our business with honesty and transparency. We take responsibility for our environmental impacts.


Ethical workplace and culture

We're committed to creating an ethical workplace in terms of how we treat our employees, and how our employees treat our customers.


Ethical campaigning

We campaign for social and economic change on issues that matter to our customers.


football manager at the side of a pitch

Supporting UK co-operatives

We are investing over £1 million in The Hive over three years, a business set up in partnership with Co-operatives UK to help new and existing businesses to thrive.

two women holding up centrepoint signs

We're tackling youth homelessness with Centrepoint

We're working with the charity Centrepoint to help them support homeless young people across the UK into a home and a job.

Raising awareness of economic abuse with Refuge

Following our ‘My money, my life’ campaign in 2015, we’ve partnered with Refuge on a new campaign to highlight the extent of economic abuse in the UK.

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