Thursday 9th February 2012


The bulk of the UK's banking industry has such a massively negative global impact on both people and the environment that is easily the most unethical sector in the British economy.

This accusation comes from Ethical Consumer which today publishes its latest banking report. In it the environmental and ethical record of over 40 of the UK's leading high street financial institutions are rated against 23 different ethical and environmental criteria.

The results reveal that the vast majority of the UK's banks are the least ethical companies in the country making the banking sector as a whole the most unethical industry in the UK.

The report contains detailed and damning accounts about how the UK's banks are involved in every form of contemporary corporate malpractice including tax avoidance, commodity speculation, greenwash and investments in climate changing industries.

Co-author of the Ethical Consumer Banking Report Rob Harrison said:

“The 85 per cent of the UK's population that bank with the Big Five banks will be appalled to learn that their money is being used to support a corporate culture that stands accused of everything from tax avoidance to exacerbating global hunger.”

The report also contains buyers' guides which gives details of ethical alternatives to current and savings accounts, cash ISAs and mortgages.

Ethical Consumer's recommended Best Buys for these products include:

Current accounts: Co-op Bank,, the Coventry, Cumberland, Norwich & Peterborough, Leeds and Nationwide building societies plus 24 credit unions

Savings accounts + cash ISAs: Charity Bank, Ecology Building Society and Triodos Bank

Mortgages: Ecology Building Society followed by all 57 of the UK's building societies
+ Co-op Bank

Co-author of the Ethical Consumer Banking Report Rob Harrison said:

“The big financial institutions have completely lost their way on the whole issue of sustainability because their attention has been focussed on the global financial crisis. Whilst this is understandable it is still nonetheless unacceptable.”

“Our report into personal ethical banking shows that there is an alternative to the  current flawed banking system, one which is just, fair and sustainable.”

The Buyers' Guides to personal ethical banking underpin a new Move Your Money campaign which has recently been launched.

Supported by a coalition of groups including Co-operatives UK, Ethical Consumer and the New Economics Foundation, Move Your Money is encouraging people to move their accounts from the failed and disgraced Big Banks to more ethical alternatives. The focus of the campaign is to get people to move their accounts next month in March.

Co-author of the Ethical Consumer Banking Report Rob Harrison said:

“It is abundantly clear that neither the banking sector nor the government have any interest in overhauling the current flawed banking system. It therefore falls to us as consumers to build a better banking system for ourselves which is why we are now encouraging people to move their money to more ethical alternatives.”



1 A copy of the Ethical Consumer Banking Report is available here:
2 Launched in 1989 Ethical Consumer is the UK's leading ethical and environmental magazine. In each issue Ethical Consumer examines the ethical and environmental record of the companies behind everyday products and services from bread to banks. For more information visit the Ethical Consumer website:


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