Ethical Banking

How we invest our money has a big impact upon the world we are co-creating. We have to look closer at all aspects of our lives and by putting your money into a bank or building society that has a positive impact on society and the environment is another important step to in the right direction.

If you search the internet and research the subject you will find 2 banks that come out on top for ethical banking: Triodos and Starling. I looked into both closer to see why they are recognised within their industry as the leaders in the field of Ethical Banking.

The Dasgupta Review is an independent, global review on the Economics of Biodiversity. The Review is commissioned by the UK Government. The report published in 2021 finds that the global financial system is critical to supporting a more sustainable engagement with nature. It calls for a financial system that channels financial investments towards economic activities that enhance our stock of natural assets and encourage sustainable consumption and production activities.

In the words of Triodos, ‘From impact investment funds to direct investment offers via our crowdfunding platform, and microfinance opportunities - all investment types we offer are working for social, environmental or cultural change.’

‘We only offer investments that aim to deliver positive change. The investment opportunities we offer are all with organisations delivering positive change, and designed to make environmental, cultural or social impact.’

‘We are completely transparent about all our investments, so you can see that your money is working for people and planet. We publish the complete list of companies we invest in with the Triodos Impact Investment Funds (previously the Socially Responsible Investment Funds) and Microfinance Fund, and you can select the organisation you'd like to support with our direct investments’.

When you open a new bank account with Triodos, they donate £60 to Friends of the Earth.

Friends of the Earth say, 'Triodos Bank is a pioneer in sustainable banking'.

'It uses the power of finance to support projects that benefit people and the planet – transforming banking into a force for good. It serves individuals and communities, as well as building a more sustainable society.

Friends of the Earth has worked in partnership with Triodos Bank since 2007. Together we help to challenge the conventional way that banking is done, moving the industry – and the world – towards a more transparent and sustainable future'.

Taking a closer look at the award winning bank of Starling, here’s what they say:

‘Saying no to rip-off fees. Listening to customers. Committing to an ethical approach. Banks haven’t always done the right thing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t. We’re branchless, paperless and run on renewable energy, and last year, we started planting thousands of trees last month. What’s more, our debit cards are made from recycled plastic and we’ve pledged to become a NetZero company (meaning we’re working towards having no net impact on the climate from greenhouse gas emissions).

‘Starling Bank grew out of a desire to create a new kind of bank and to make banking more inclusive by putting customer needs first. For us, good business and ethics go hand in hand. We believe that businesses should be aware of their social, economic and environmental impact and their responsibilities to pursue the social good.'

This policy outlines how our values and ethics shape our business and the way we work.

At the core of our value system is a belief in transparency, fairness and inclusion. This means no hidden or rip-off fees and no hard sell. It also means listening to our customers.’

Changing direction in anything takes effort, whether moving home, leaving a relationship or even voting for a different political party. Changing your bank may also feel like an inconvenient change to many too. But it is only by making these ethical decisions that we can build momentum and bring about the changes to the world that are so essential right now.

Article and photography by Ben Molyneux