Co-op Bank turns £10m away in ethical stance

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The Co-operative Bank turned away about £10m of business on ethical grounds last year, it has revealed, refusing dozens of companies that did not stand up to its screening tests.

More than half of those turned away were refused on grounds of environmental concerns, mainly the levels of pollution generated by the businesses.

About a fifth of companies were refused because of their neglect of animal welfare, while a further 20 per cent were turned away over human rights abuses.

Although the bank refused to reveal any names, it said one company which makes sporrans was refused because of its use of fox pelts, while a shoe manufacturer was also turned away because of its use of animal fur on some of the boots it manufactures.

Craig Shannon, the Co-op bank's director of business management, said the company had become ever more rigorous in applying its screens.

"This analysis demonstrates that we are prepared to turn away business for ethical reasons in line with our customers' concerns," he said. "Despite this scrutiny, the bank's corporate business goes from strength to strength.

"When we launched our ethical stance back in 1992, its initial appeal was very much to individual customers who wanted to know what happened to their money while it was in the bank. Now, 14 years on, a quarter of the bank's corporate customers join us because we are prepared to turn away certain sorts of business."