A Strong Ethical Banking Sector

Individuals, Local & National Policymakers, Financial Institutions

An ethical bank is a bank concerned with the social and environmental impacts of its investments and loans. It is just like a conventional bank in that it manages deposits or savings raised from citizens, families, organisations, companies and institutions. The difference is that ethical banks give loans and financial services to projects, organisations or businesses judged to be of social or ecological benefit. Ethical banks often provide finance to projects that, for various reasons, are unable to borrow from mainstream lenders. They also offer low interest loans to groups and organisations with social and/or environmental aims. Examples include:
– Loans to individuals for low energy retrofitting of their homes (installation of renewable energy systems, insulation, etc.)
– Mortgages for self-builders of new ecological, low-energy homes
– Discounted interest rates for housing cooperatives or private construction companies for larger ecological commercial and residential projects
– Lending for organic farmers and CSA (community supported agriculture) systems
– Loans for eco-tourism initiatives
– Financial services to charities, social enterprises, trade unions and NGOs (non-governmental organisations)
– Loans to cultural and arts initiatives
– Finance for medium to large-scale community renewable energy projects (wind farms, etc.)
– Micro-finance initiatives in the developing world (for small farmers, local renewable energy projects, etc.)
– Credit and financial services to fair trade producers, retailers, importers and exporters

Ecological Building Society, West Yorkshire, England, UK

Triodos Bank, The Netherlands

Alternative Bank Switzerland, Olten, Switzerland