Wherever you put your money, you will be engaged in the business of investment, even if your bank, building society, pension or trust fund does the investing for you. This gives you a choice: either your money can go to companies which harm the environment, or it can avoid such companies and actively support those which seek to protect the environment.
The Co-operative Bank describes itself as “Customer led, ethically guided” and, as its name suggests, is linked to the co-operative movement. There is a whole section on their website “Ethics in Action” which describes their ethical policy. This includes topics such as genetic modification and ecological impact, as well as human rights, the arms trade and other issues. Their website contains links to a great deal of information about the environmental impact of both the Co-operative Bank and CIS (Co-operative Insurance Services). Smile is their internet only subsidiary.
Triodos Bank describes itself as one of Europe’s leading ethical banks and it aims to enable money to work for positive social, environmental and cultural change. It only lends money to organisations and businesses pursuing positive social, environmental and cultural goals. In the UK, Triodos Bank has established formal partnerships with The Soil Association and Friends of the Earth among others.
The Unity Trust Bank is a socially responsible organisation providing banking and membership services to trade unions, charities, voluntary, credit union and membership organisations.
The Ecology Building Society is dedicated to improving the environment by promoting sustainable housing and sustainable communities. Money invested with them is used to fund mortgage lending on energy efficient housing, ecological renovation, derelict and dilapidated properties, small-scale and ecological enterprise and low-impact lifestyles. Their website has pictures of their new headquarters, with turf roofs, photovoltaic arrays and a straw bale meeting room.