The Co-operative Bank has rejected £100million of business which it said did not meet its ethical criteria.
In its annual ethical audit report, released this week, The Co-operative said that as part of its ethos as an ethical bank, it turned down financing or banking services opportunities to companies which do not comply with their strict criteria, on human rights, arms trade, animal welfare, and environmental grounds.
The business that was turned down includes finance for missile equipment going to oppressive regimes, banking services for a cleaning product company that tests on animals, funding for gas and oil extraction, and the development of two coal mining operations in the UK.
Meanwhile, The Co-operative increased the amount of finance it provides to UK businesses by £800million, with an emphasis on lending to those companies which have an ethical or environmental stance.
Its ethical position and refusal to do business with firms which do not meet its criteria has distinguished The Co-operative from other banks, it says, and is helping to meet a growing demand from consumers for ethical products, such as ethical investment and green banking.
Tim Franklin, chief operating officer at The Co-operative Financial Services, said: "These figures clearly demonstrate that there has been no relaxation in the implementation of the bank’s Ethical Policy and we continue to turn business away that conflicts with our customers’ concerns."
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