7 Ethical Banks In The UK That Invest In Our Collective Future

Make Your Money Work For Your Values With These Green UK Banks.

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If you think you’re the only one spending your money then we hate to break it to you – your bank may be spending your hard-earned cash on bankrolling the climate crisis. 

Ethical banking is the best way to ensure your money supports your values. Ethical banks in the UK follow ESG principles (environmental, social and governance) to invest in positive change. 

Ethical UK Banks That Make Smart Money Choices

Triodos Bank is transparent about how they use the money you entrust to them. Your savings accounts and investments are fossil fuel-free.

A bank for good, Charity Bank is run by charity foundations, trusts and social purpose enterprises which provide loans for projects that positively impact local communities. 

Whether we like it or not, banks use our dollars to fuel the climate emergency. A report by ActionAid found that some of the UK’s biggest high-street banks pump billions of dollars into fossil fuels, industrial farming and human rights violations in 134 countries. See if yours is among them on Bank.Green.

By switching to ethical and eco-friendly banks, UK investors can ensure their money contributes to sustainable causes via ESG (environment, social, and governance) investments to create tangible, positive change,

Keep reading to find the greenest banks in the UK that invest in our future and (bank)roll to the bottom for an account of how we chose them.

1. Triodos Bank

Ethical Banks UK by Triodos Bank
Images by Triodos Bank

Values | Transparency, sin sector-free, renewable energy, conservation and social housing. 

What We Love | Triodos Bank is transparent about what it does with your money because they believe it can change the world. All 621 organisations they finance are positive impact projects based in the UK. You can read about them all on their website; no shady investments here.

Triodos Bank’s Green Banking UK

Triodos Bank has current accounts, ethical savings accounts, ISAs and impact investments. They also offer savings accounts for kids which you can set up and grow until they both come of age.

Businesses and charities can manage their money through Triodos Bank with additional services, including business lending, raising capital and crowdfunding.

As a Which? Eco Provider, they don’t support fossil fuels, fast fashion, tobacco, deforestation or weapons and ammunition (AKA the “sin sectors” of banking).

Triodos Bank’s Sustainability 

Certifications | B Corp, Which? Eco Provider, FSCS

Carbon | Triodos Bank’s co-financed renewable energy projects helped avoid 996 tonnes of CO2e emissions in 2023. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | Equity is one of Triodos’ core values. They financially support charities, social enterprises and projects that provide vital support for disadvantaged people. 

Pay It Forward | They support local charities including the Papworth Trust, The Julia Norris Trust and Zaytoun CIC. Through the Triodos Foundation, they fund community-led projects based around Bristol.

2. The Co-Operative Bank

Ethical Banks UK by The Co-Operative Bank
Images by The Co-Operative Bank

Values | Community-owned, fossil-free and carbon-neutral.

What We Love | Part of the co-operative movement which was founded in 1872, The Co-Operative Bank is owned by individual members rather than big investors. They became the UK’s first bank to launch a customer-led Ethical Policy in 1992 with a simple mission: planet, people, and the community over profit. 

The Co-Operative Bank’s Ethical UK Bank Accounts 

The Co-Operative is a well-established green bank in the UK which offers financial services for individuals and businesses. They have current accounts for Ukrainian refugees, people with low or no credit history and students. You can also find credit cards, savings accounts, insurance, loans and mortgages.

There is a screening process for businesses wishing to bank with them to ensure they have no investments in fossil fuels or finance logging in the Amazon.

The Co-Operative Bank’s Sustainability 

Certifications | Which? Eco Provider, FSCS, Fossil Free Certified 

Carbon | The Co-Operative Bank has a strict screening process to ensure they never fund fossil fuel extraction. They’re committed to being a carbon neutral bank and they’re an ambassador for the Zero Hour campaign to cut the UK’s carbon emissions at policy level.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | They support organisations fighting for equality, including Shelter, Centrepoint, Amnesty International UK, Refuge and Women in Finance Charter. 

Pay It Forward | The bank helps with emergency fundraising appeals for the Disasters Emergency Committee which brings together 15 leading UK aid charities. Positive impact projects can also apply to the Customer Donation Fund. 

3. Wealthify

Ethical Banks UK by Wealthify
Images by Wealthify

Values | Ethical investment fund providers, social justice, corporate ethics and accessibility through negligible account minimums.

What We Love | Wealthify helps you start investing with a choice of five ethical plans. Each plan has providers who are signatories of the Principles of Responsible Investing (PRI) and they’re screened regularly to ensure ethical standards are maintained.

Wealthify’s ESG Investment Banking 

Wealthify aims to make investing straightforward and affordable for everyone. You can start from just £1 and withdraw your money at any time with no penalty fees. 

Investment accounts include a stocks and shares ISA, general investment account, junior stocks and shares ISA, self-invested personal pension and an instant access savings account. 

The Ethical Plans allow you to support the social and environmental issues that are most important to you. Choose from cautious, tentative, confident, ambitious and adventurous plans. As with any investment, your capital is at risk. 

Wealthify’s Sustainability 

Certifications | FSCS 

Carbon | Wealthify’s ethical funds exclude deforestation, nuclear power and climate change subject to an up to 10% tolerance, meaning the businesses they invest in aren’t directly involved but their parent company or supplier might. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | Wealthify aims to make savings and investments attainable with their flexible and beginner-friendly plans. You can start saving from as little as £1.

4. Starling Bank

Ethical Banks UK by Starling Bank
Images by Starling Bank

Values | Value-led banking, sin sector-free, gender equality and carbon offsetting.

What We Love | A modern bank for the modern world, Starling Bank is Britain’s first digital bank. Their aim is to make money fair and equal by democratising financial education. 

Starling Bank’s Ethical Banking UK

Starling Bank’s award-winning ethical banking app lets you spend, save, budget and split your money all in one place. They don’t have brick-and-mortar branches but they do have 24/7 customer service teams. 

There are accounts for individuals, kids, businesses and joint spending. You can also apply for a savings account, overdraft and loans. 

You can spend abroad without fees and all bank cards are made from recycled plastic. 

Starling Bank’s Sustainability 

Certifications | FSCS 

Carbon | Starling Bank has planted over 100,000 trees through Trillion Trees, they’re a founding member of TechZero and working to improve how they measure emissions in lending and investments through Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | Britain’s first female-founded bank, they are a founding signatory of the Women in Finance Charter which campaigns for gender equality in finance.

 Pay It Forward | They have partnered with the National Trust to support projects including UK peatlands restoration, free lunches at National Trust cafes and days out for disadvantaged kids.

5. Charity Bank

Ethical Banks UK by Charity Bank
Images by Charity Bank

Values | Charitable giving, equity and fossil-free.

What We Love | The UK eco-friendly bank is owned by charitable foundations, trusts and social purpose enterprises across the UK working towards a common goal to make a positive impact on local communities. 

Charity Bank’s Green Banking UK

Charity Bank specialises in savings accounts and loans. Individuals, businesses, credit unions and charities can all entrust their money in a range of notice and fixed-rates accounts. 

Social enterprises, charities and businesses doing good in the local community can also apply for a loan which is tailored to their individual needs. 

Charity Bank’s Sustainability 

Certifications | B Corp, Fossil Free Certified, iiE Silver Level, FSCS

Carbon | Charity Bank is a member of the Fossil Free Alliance and is Silver Level certified by Investors in the Environment. They help fund transitions to renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | Since 2002, they have used over £500 million to support projects fighting for a fairer society with sectors including housing, education, social care and community. 

Pay It Forward | Local charities they support include Parchment Trust, Age UK, Mayfield Trust, Stretham & Wilburton Community Land Trust, Collaborative Women and more. 

6. Monzo

Ethical Banks UK by Monzo
Images by Monzo

Values | Equity, accessibility for all and charitable giving.

What We Love | Monzo believes money should work for everyone, hence their easy-to-use digital banking app which works to make finances fair for all. They’ve teamed up with organisations to tackle mental health and gambling addiction.

Monzo’s Ethical Banking UK

Monzo is a digital banking app for individuals and businesses. You can set up free and paid current accounts, organise money into savings pots and track your spending through trends. 

You can set up instant access savings accounts, cash ISAs, a Flex credit card and apply for a loan. 

They can also manage your investments but note that they’re partnered with BlackRock, which has controversial ties to deforestation and lack of affordable housing.

Monzo’s Sustainability 

Certifications | FSCS

Carbon | Like other ethical UK banks, Monzo is branchless but they’re still committed to 2030. They don’t invest in fossil fuels and they’re a member of Tech Zero Taskforce. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | As a bank for all, Monzo simplifies language around money to make it easy to understand. They continue to improve the way they break down barriers to financial services, and advocate for financial inclusion with disability-friendly banking features and specialist teams to help customers in difficult circumstances. 

Pay It Forward | Monzo allows customers to donate to a charity of their choice through the app. Charities include The Trussell Trust, Surviving Economic Abuse, Mind and British Red Cross. 

7. Ecology Building Society

Ethical Banks UK by Ecology Building Society
Images by Ecology Building Society

Values | Green infrastructure, equitable and affordable housing, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

What We Love | Founded by a group of like-minded people in 1981, Ecology Building Society uses savers’ money to finance ecological building renovations and community-focused housing. Whether you’re a borrower or a saver, they make the flow of money a force for good. 

Ecology Building Society’s Sustainable Mortgages

Ecology Building Society offers a range of ethical savings accounts, including a cash ISA, easy access, 35-day and 180-day notice accounts. The money entrusted in these savings accounts goes directly to funding community and commercial mortgages for sustainable housing projects. 

There are specific mortgages for self-building and renovations. As with any lender, your home may be repossessed if you don’t keep up repayments on your mortgage. 

Ecology Building Society’s Sustainability 

Certifications | iiE Green Level, FSCS

Carbon | The building society lends money to energy-efficient building projects. Their offices are also run on renewable energy and they use Small World Consulting to calculate the carbon emissions. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | As a building society, Ecology is run by its members who play a key role in shaping their strategy. 

Pay It Forward | They provide mortgages for community groups and charities to help them build sustainable, affordable housing for people in need. 

Our Considerations For Choosing The Best Ethical Banks UK

Banks are notorious for being dishonest about what they spend their customers’ money on. So, how do we know which ones put their/our money where their mouth is? 

We’ve created a set of criteria to help us identify the UK’s best ethical banks. Not every (money)box needs to be ticked but they should be transparent about where the money is spent.

Certifications:

B Corporation, Which?, Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), Bank.Green Fossil Free Banking Alliance, Investors in the Environment (iiE)

Carbon Goals & Achievements: 

Banks and financial companies have a controversial history of investing in fossil fuels. High-street banks in the UK, including HSBC and Barclays have put $3.2 trillion towards fossil fuel expansion since the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

With the climate emergency heating up, ethical and sustainable banks should make it a priority to ensure they don’t fund fossil fuels, instead promoting the transition to renewable energy sources both in their investments and business operations. 

Some banks outsource their investment providers, which have a more flexible tolerance to fossil fuels. We prefer a zero-tolerance approach but appreciate transparency that allows customers to make up their own minds. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion:

Money management is complex and we welcome banks that stand for financial inclusion and provide education, resources and support to people needing help accessing a bank account. We also like to see banks tackle barriers to financial equality by supporting sectors including housing, education, social care and community. 

Pay It Forward: 

Charitable giving is a strong indicator of a bank’s values. Financial companies making ethical claims should be able to prove it with the social and environmental charities they support. 

Closing Thoughts On Sustainable Banking In The UK

According to green savings site MotherTree, each £1,000 held in a current account by a bank like Barclays could be contributing to 0.29 tonnes of carbon per year. 

Switching to an ethical bank is a small but powerful way to take climate action and advocate for the causes you believe in. 

Be sure to share this list of sustainable banks to encourage other money-savers to make their money work for them and the planet.