The Co-operative Bank in the United Kingdom has done what a lot of banks refuse to do. They have shown that good, even great, banking can be sustainable and successful. I believe that a lot of other banks should begin to incorporate some of their practices and goals and be as sustainable as the co-op has proved to be.
The Co-Operative Bank was founded in 1872, headquartered in Manchester, United Kingdom, by “real people with a real desire to challenge the status quo by creating a fairer, co-operative business” (Main Website). In 1974, they began a service that offers free banking services to those whose accounts include credit. They launched a customer-led Ethical Policy in the United Kingdom in order to have customers' voices be seen and heard in how they run their business. They claim to refuse the support of animal testing for cosmetics, they support fairtrade, and do nost finance the fossil fuel industry, to name a few. Since 2007, their operations have remained carbon neutral in order to take a stand on climate change and show their determination for change. In 2020, they also joined the Zero Hour Campaign which supports the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. This bill calls on the government to demand change for the climate emergency that we have all been living through. Since their origination, they have had claims to be a bank that is different from others, and this goes to show just how much effort they have been putting into their bank to prove this.
The bank offers a multitude of banking options, from online to mobile to branch. They also offer services for those who are not able-bodied, including braille and audio, as well as a talking ATM. I think this is really amazing, because not all customers are the same. The needs of one will obviously differ from the other, and these services make banking easier for those who do happen to need these services!
Although the Co-operative Bank has been carbon-neutral since 2007, and have urged the importance of being an ethically-sourced bank since its inception, they initially received a low ESG score indicating that their environmental, social, and governance impact is not good. However, this ESG score was changed after they were more transparent with information. Once they began to disclose more, understandably, there was more they could be rated on, and their ESG score greatly increased. In July of 2021, they received a 9.2 ESG rating making it the United Kingdom’s highest-ranked street bank!
The CEO of The Co-operative Bank is Nick Slape, and he has been acting CEO since 2020. Sadly, I was unable to find any information regarding his educational background, other than prior to his position at The Co-op, he was the Chief Financial Officer of Lloyds Banking Group. This bank also claims to be operating ethically, sustainably, and inclusively, which says a lot about his career choices! He has gone to show that ethical lending is not equated to financial ruin! You can be ethical, and make a profit, it’s not one or the other. I think this is amazing of him because it shows other bigger corporations that these terms can be used in the same sentence! It is possible to be ethical, while also not losing revenue.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information about their production team and chain supply.
The Co-operative Bank is committed to aiding individuals to live a free, safe, and equitable life. They do this by treating their customers and colleagues the best they can, as well as through their support for human rights and equality. They have a customer-led Ethical Policy to ensure their customers' voices are heard and seen, and interesting enough, they are the only bank in the UK to have such a Policy! The Policy outlines what they have done for the planet as well as for people. In regards to the planet, over the past 30 years the Co-op has withheld finance from any business whose activity contributes to fossil fuel extraction, they were also the first bank in the UK to sign the Paris Pledge, which denies financing coal mining and power generation. They stand against the destruction of ecosystems and stand against companies that do. Furthermore, in regards to people, they have campaigned against the use of weapons, including cluster bombs. They are the only UK bank that has joined “Don’t Bank on the Bomb” as well as “Hall of Fame” because of their disdain for such weapons. In addition, they have partnered with Centrepoint to help the youth facing homelessness! The Co-op bank promotes human rights and equality, which is so great to hear. Not only do they claim to support it, but they have also shown in their actions that it is at the core of their bank.