Triodos was celebrated for having no exposure to fossil fuels and having clear, public environmental policies. Which?, the UK’s most popular consumer association, recognised these factors as an important part of its Eco Provider assessment.
In a lengthy research process, Which? examined the claims of 13 of the UK’s leading current account providers, working with Reclaim Finance, a non-profit research organisation, to analyse fossil fuel policies – which were broadly found to be too weak – and statements on agricultural commodities such as beef, soy, timber and palm oil.
Some of the UK’s biggest high-street banks were given a ‘red’ warning based on the analysis of their investments and green policies. The full research is published on the Which? website.
As one of just three banks to earn the new Eco Provider badge, Which? found that ‘Triodos refuses to lend or invest in fossil fuel projects, and focuses its lending on renewable energy. Triodos excludes companies that mine coal, build coal plants, produce energy from fossil fuel power plants, or extract and produce oil and gas.’
Which? researchers also considered transparency levels and whether banks had credible targets to reduce exposure to environmentally damaging sectors, and checked whether they publish independently verified data. Triodos publishes information about every organisation that it lends to, so that customers can review each and every organisation in the Triodos lending and investment portfolios – transparency that is not available with any other UK bank.
“Consumers seeking to make more sustainable choices might want to consider switching banks if they are uncomfortable with their money being invested in the fossil fuel industry and other projects which could be damaging to the environment,” suggests Sam Richardson, deputy editor of Which? Money.
“By choosing one of Which?’s Eco Providers, customers can feel confident that their bank has impressive green credentials and steers clear of investing money in coal, oil or gas.”
Not just avoiding harm, but doing good
Talking about the recognition, Bevis Watts, chief executive of Triodos Bank UK, says: “We’re pleased to be recognised for our leading exclusion policies around fossil fuels and commodities, but it’s important to note that we also go beyond exclusion and actively look for positive impact. We only invest and lend the money deposited with us to organisations that are delivering positive change for people and planet.
“The finance sector urgently needs to do what it takes to realise rapid and sustained global greenhouse gas emissions reduction. This means minimising the use of fossil fuels and not financing deforestation, but also building renewable energy capacity, improving energy efficiency and investing in nature’s recovery as soon as possible.”
Which? also examined how banks plan to reach net zero and noted the Triodos 2035 target as one of the most advanced.
“Thank you to Which? as the UK’s consumer champion for the thorough research and analysis that they’ve completed looking at banks and sustainability,” continues Bevis. “Their analysis did a good job of exposing some of the greenwashing that is rife in the banking sector. We need a banking system that is sustainable, transparent and diverse – and holding banks accountable through independent research, such as this plays a key role.”
This latest assessment from Which? follows it’s 2021 analysis of green savings options that rated Triodos Bank as scoring 92 out of 100, placing it top of the rankings overall.