Move Your Money (to a Better Place) – Ethical Banking

March 2012: Move your Money Month.

This month, in order to build a better banking system, some people and organisations in the UK are moving their money from the big banks to more ethical ones.

The new ISA (Individual Savings Account) year is coming up (6th April) so how about opening an ethical ISA to save your money ethically?

A little over a year ago, I didn’t really understand how banking could be ethical, but when I started working for Britannia, part of the Co-Operative bank, I started to understand it more.

A sustainable or ethical bank is aware of the environmental and social impacts of its investments and loans.

Sustainable banks are typically involved in ethical investments, corporate social responsibility and support fair trade organisations.

Their ethical investments encourage practices that involve environmental stewardship, human rights and consumer protections rather than supporting businesses involved in the military, oil drilling, weapons…

While I was working for the Co-Operative I opened a new account with them and made it my main one, took out my home insurance with them and when Barclays asked me why I moved away from them, I made it very clear that unlike Barclays, the Co-Operative is an ethical bank.

Jan 2011: My trip to Manchester to the Co-Op HQ for my Welcome Day

In the past years the Co-Operative bank has turned down millions of pounds of investments that were in businesses or activities that were damaging to the environment or weapon-related and it is still making sure it is keeping an eye on the environment, the community and turning their credentials into action to make change the world for the better.

Good with money shows how they are doing it in more detail.

The Co-Op Manchester HQ, the UK’s tallest office building outside of London, is the country’s biggest solar project.

The Co-Operative involves ethical banking, insurance and investments, tackling global poverty, supports renewable energy, sustainable development, ecological sustainability…I am very proud I switched my main account to them.

I’m not going on about it because I worked for them (I don’t anymore so there would be no point) but from a banking point of view I’ve had a purely positive experience with the Co-Op and Britannia, if you have a problem you can call them up 24/7 and they have always been extremely cordial and helpful so I highly recommend them if you are having problems with your bank or would like to switch to a sustainable one.

Their online banking may not be as fancy as the Barclays portal I used to use, but it works absolutely fine and every transaction I have used it for didn’t have any issues at all.

There are a few sustainable banking offers going on at the moment:

  • Triodos Bank only lend their savers’ money to organisations that work to make the world a better place, and if you open a savings account with them they will donate £40 to Friends of the Earth!

What do you think of ethical banking?  Would you switch your account to a sustainable one?

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