Our values and ethics

More than just words — since 1872 we’ve been committed to our co-operative values and ethics, which are still fundamental to who we are to this day.

Our Ethical Policy

Our commitment to co-operative values and ethics has been fundamental to us since we established the Bank in 1872 and still underpin how we run our business.

To outline our ethical commitments, in 1992 we took a pioneering step and introduced a customer-led Ethical Policy. We were the first bank in the UK to do so, and are still the only UK high street bank to have one of its kind.

We often ask our customers to tell us about the things that matter to them and want us to take action on, and regularly update our Ethical Policy to reflect this.

After listening to our customers, our latest Ethical Policy focuses on what we do for our planet, people, and the community, and our commitments within these spaces.

Changing the world together

Find out more about how our commitments have always been more than just words in our short video below:

The three pillars of our Ethical Policy:


We’re committed to:

  • Working to limit and reduce global climate change and the destruction of ecosystems
  • Taking steps to reverse the decline in biodiversity
  • Preserving animal welfare
  • Working towards being a lifetime carbon neutral bank
  • Increasing sustainability in our business and suppliers.

Read more about our commitment to the planet


We’re committed to:

  • Promoting human rights, social justice in international development and equality
  • Campaigning for meaningful change in society
  • Making sure we’re a responsible bank that treats customers fairly
  • Being an ethical employer with a strong culture.

Read more about our commitment to people


We’re committed to:

  • Promoting economic and social development
  • Only working with businesses and organisations that are accountable and share our values
  • Supporting the co-operative movement and being a member of Co-operatives UK
  • Being good digital citizens and maintaining online protections
  • Continuing to actively support the small business community.

Read more about our commitment to the community

Our ethical screening process

We’re committed to not providing banking services to businesses and organisations that conflict with our Ethical Policy.

For example, we’ve previously stopped an organisation from joining The Co-operative Bank on the grounds of their involvement with fossil fuel extraction, and declined services to businesses that conflict with our stance on human rights and animal welfare.

Find out how our screening process works

Our 2023 Sustainability Report

Our annual Sustainability Report shows how we have delivered against our Ethical Policy and provides key environmental, social and governance information. It showcases our values and ethics in action and outlines our commitments for the future.

Our Environmental, Social and Governance principles

Businesses today are increasingly being held to account by their customers, investors, regulators, employees and other stakeholders. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting makes the overall impact of an organisation's activities more measurable by taking into account the impact of its core operations, alongside the positive work they undertake.

For the third year running, The Co-operative Bank has been rated as the UK’s best Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) rated high street bank by leading ESG risk rating agency, Sustainalytics*.

Learn more about our Environmental, Social and Governance approach

*As of October 2023, The Co-operative Bank received an ESG Risk Rating of 8.5 from Morningstar Sustainalytics and was assessed to be at negligible risk of experiencing financial impacts from ESG factors. In no event should this Risk Rating be construed as investment advice or expert opinion as defined by the applicable legislation.

Copyright 2023 Morningstar Sustainalytics. All rights reserved. This article contains information developed by Sustainalytics (www.sustainalytics.com). Such information and data are proprietary of Sustainalytics and/or its third party suppliers (Third Party Data) and are provided for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement of any product or project, nor an investment advice and are not warranted to be complete, timely, accurate or suitable for a particular purpose. Their use is subject to conditions available at www.sustainalytics.com/legal-disclaimers.

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Our co-operative values

As a business with deep and historic roots in the co-operative movement, we have enshrined co-operative values into how we operate. Those values are:

  • Self-help
  • Self-responsibility
  • Democracy
  • Equality and equity
  • Solidarity.

In common with organisations across the co-operative movement, we also believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others. We’re proud to be partnered with Co-operatives UK — the voice of the UK’s co-operative movement — where you can learn more about co-operative values.

How your bank uses your money can change the world

Your money has power—so deciding who you bank with is an important decision. But with so many banks to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult to find out everything you want to know before opening an account or taking out other products, such as loans and mortgages.

Here at The Co-operative Bank, we believe it’s what we won’t do with your money that really makes a difference.

Find out what impact your bank has on the planet

Join the bank you can hold to account

With a customer-led Ethical Policy since 1992, we give you a say in how your money is used. By choosing us, you’re choosing to withdraw from the financing of fossil fuels, oppressive regimes, unethical labour practices, and so much more.

We’re the bank you can hold to account. We’re The Co-operative Bank.

Since 1872, we’ve been putting our ethics into action

For over 150 years we’ve had an unwavering commitment to our co-operative values and ethics; putting our principles into action and campaigning for the causes that matter to our customers. Find out how our story began, and see our highlights through the years.

Learn more about our history

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