It is our commitment not to provide banking services to businesses and organisations that conflict with our Ethical Policy.
Due to our Ethical Policy position not to provide banking services to businesses or organisations involved in the manufacture or transfer of indiscriminate weapons, we are the only UK-based bank in the Don’t Bank on the Bomb report Hall of Fame (March 2018) and the Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions report Hall of Fame (December 2018).
Examples of our ethical screening process
In 2018, four potential customers did not meet the ethical expectations set out in our customer-led Ethical Policy. As a result, we decided not to accept them as Co-operative Bank customers. Three of these cases related to our Ethical Policy statements on human rights and one was related to our commitment to animal welfare.
A consultancy business involved in advising the government of an oppressive regime on defence issues, including arms brokerage services, was not accepted as a new customer. We considered their activities to be in conflict with our position on the manufacture or transfer of arms to oppressive regimes.
A personal customer was not accepted due to their close association with members of the political system of an oppressive regime. We viewed this as a conflict with our Ethical Policy position on links to oppressive regimes.
A jewellery business directly linked with the sourcing of gemstones from a region where there is evidence of poor human rights and labour standards did not meet our Ethical Policy criteria. The company did not provide policies on their position on human rights or sourcing. Their actions were considered to be in conflict with our position on upholding basic labour standards in supply chains.
We declined services to a farming business that failed to meet adequate standards of animal welfare. The business was therefore considered to be in conflict with the Bank’s position on intensive farming.
Screening existing business banking customers
Our Central Screening Exercise is a risk based review of our existing business customers to ensure they remain compliant with our Ethical Policy. Those considered to present the greatest potential risk of conflict with our Policy are required to complete an up-to-date self-certification form.