Ethical Banking

At The Co-operative Bank we've always shared our customers' passion for values and ethics. That's why we're different from other banks.

What is Ethical banking?

We are the only UK high street bank with a customer-led Ethical Policy that underpins everything we do. Since 1872, when we were formed to provide banking services for the co-operative movement, we have remained committed to keeping co-operative principles at the heart of our business. Our commitment to promote co-operative values is part of our Ethical Policy, which is incorporated into the Bank’s Articles of Association, making it central to everything we do.

We do not provide banking services to organisations that conflict with our customers’ views on a comprehensive range of issues, for example: human rights, the environment, international development and animal welfare, or those involved in irresponsible gambling or payday lending. It is this unique mandate from our customers that sets us apart.

We make the following commitments:

Promoting human rights and equality

We will not provide banking services to any business, organisation or government that:

  • Fails to uphold basic human rights within its sphere of influence.
  • Manufactures or transfers indiscriminate weapons (e.g. cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions), torture equipment or other equipment that is used in the violation of human rights, or armaments supplied to oppressive regimes.
  • Advocates discrimination and incitement to hatred.
  • Has links to an oppressive regime that are a continuing cause for concern.

Promoting economic and social development in Britain

We will not provide banking services to any business or organisation:

  • That takes an irresponsible approach to the payment of tax in the UK and elsewhere.
  • Whose core business focuses on irresponsible gambling as defined by relevant legislation.
  • Whose core business is the provision of payday loans.

Promoting the environment

We will not provide banking services to any business or organisation whose core activity contributes to:

  • Global climate change, via the extraction or production of fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas and shale gas), with an extension to the distribution of those fuels that have a higher global warming impact (e.g. tar sands and certain biofuels).
  • The manufacture of chemicals that are persistent in the environment, bio-accumulative in nature or linked to long-term health concerns.
  • The unsustainable harvest of natural resources, including timber and fish.
  • The development of genetically modified organisms where there is evidence of uncontrolled release into the environment, negative impacts on developing countries, or patenting, e.g. of indigenous knowledge.
  • The development of nanotechnology in circumstances that risk damaging the environment or compromising human health.

Supporting international development

We will not provide banking services to any business or organisation that:

  • Fails to implement basic labour rights as set out in the Fundamental UN ILO Conventions, e.g. avoidance of child labour, or that actively opposes the rights of workers to freedom of association, e.g. in a trade union.
  • Impedes access to basic human necessities, e.g. safe drinking water or vital medicines.
  • Engages in irresponsible marketing practices, e.g. with regard to tobacco products and manufacture.

Protecting animal welfare

We will not provide banking services to any business or organisation:

  • That is involved in the exploitation of great apes, e.g. in experimentation or general commercial use.
  • Whose activities significantly contribute to the degradation of endangered animal species’ habitats.
  • Involved in animal testing of cosmetic or household products or their ingredients, intensive farming methods (e.g. caged egg production), blood sports (e.g. the use of animals or birds in sport to catch, fight or kill each other) or the fur trade.

Learn more about ethical banking and our products:

Ethical business

Environmental sustainability

It’s also about how we operate as a business, through our partnerships with suppliers, through our external relationships, through the way we manage our impact on the economy, society and the environment, and in how we consider values and ethics in what we do.

Ethical current accounts

Current Accounts

At the Co-operative Bank, we have always been driven by something different: an ethical approach to banking.

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