Bank Green, a volunteer-driven environmental organisation, has launched a groundbreaking climate performance ranking of 103 major banking institutions in the UK.

Their ratings, ranging from “Great” to “Worst,” shed light on the environmental practices of these financial entities. Surprisingly, some banks extensively promoting their climate concerns were found to be among the worst offenders, while others with progressive fossil-free plans earned commendable scores.

Bank Green’s ratings methodology evaluates banks based on various criteria, including their lending to the fossil fuel sector, support for renewable energy projects, measurement and disclosure of financed emissions, and adoption of exclusion policies for coal, oil, and gas. The analysis identified 14 institutions rated as “Great” and an equal number ranked as “Worst.”

Key Insights

Among the key findings:

  • Banks like Triodos, The Co-operative Bank, and Metro Bank, with explicit policies against fossil fuel lending, achieved top ratings.
  • Some seemingly sustainable brands, like First Direct and M&S Bank, owned by HSBC, and Tesco Bank, owned by Barclays, were associated with major climate offenders.
  • Natwest and Lloyds showed a mixed performance, supporting both renewable energy and the fossil fuel sector.
  • While many banks are reducing fossil fuel investments, insufficient efforts are being made to increase renewable energy lending.
  • Transparency regarding banking partnerships for UK building societies offering savings accounts needs improvement, as some partner with banks rated as “Worst.”

Empowering Consumers and Organisations

Zak Gottlieb, cofounder of Bank.Green, highlighted the organisation’s role as a platform for public engagement, advocating change, and facilitating bank switches. Albert Carter, another cofounder, also emphasised the importance of providing unbiased information to empower consumers and organisations in making sustainable banking choices and pressurising financial institutions to decarbonise.

“By rating all 103 major banks and building societies in the UK, Bank Green has expanded its presence as a public engagement platform for checking bank performance, advocating for change, and switching institutions,” Gottlieb said.

Bank Green’s ratings of all 103 UK banking institutions are currently live on their website, while their league table and key findings are available on their blog.

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