Bank refuses £700m of loans for 'unethical' acts

The Co-operative Bank has turned down £700m worth of loans since the launch of its landmark ethical policy 15 years ago in order to stick to its ethical mandate.

The bank, which has more than 7,500 charity clients, has withheld more than £300m from organisations that produce fossil fuels, manufacture harmful chemicals or are involved in unsustainable fishing and deforestation.

Other practices that the bank has declined to fund include animal testing, arms trading and tobacco production.

In line with its ethical standpoint, the bank runs a number of specialist services for small charities and community organisations.

David Anderson, chief executive of Co-operative Financial Services, said: "We've witnessed the end of cosmetic testing on animals in the UK and the introduction of legislation to phase out the manufacture of the most harmful chemicals. Now fair trade - something that our customers have supported since 1995 - is a mainstream brand."

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