Smile is a U.K. based Internet bank which is not only highly regarded for their excellent customer service and top credit card rates, but also for their clear ethical policies. Smile is part of the Co-operative Bank and therefore operates under its ethical policy which, due to customer demand, was launched back in 1992. They guarantee that your money will not be invested in any businesses which fail on Environmental, Human, and Animal Rights Issues, or that are involved in the Arms Trade, the development of GM foods, or tobacco products. Furthermore they actively seek to invest in Fair Trade and labor rights organizations, as well as those companies involved in renewable energies and ecological sustainability. Smile and The Co-operative Bank’s Ethical Policy is renewed every three years based on customers views. Now that’s what we call good customer service!Treehugger has posted on ethical investment before, but we found that these mostly concentrate on U.S. based companies. After our last post on investing in hardwood forests in Spain we got to thinking seriously about other ethical investment opportunities in Europe. As well as Smile we have also found Triodos which won the best cash ISA at the The Guardian/Observer Newspaper consumer finance awards 2005. Triodos was established in the Netherlands in 1980 and now has branches in the U.K., Belgium and Spain. They say they enable your ‘money to work for positive social, environmental and cultural change.’ Triodos offer ‘partnership accounts’ where they will only invest your money in a cause of your choice. For example you can have an Earth Saver Account, an Amnesty Saver Account, or a Fairtrade Saver Account.
Other Ethical Banking services we’ve found are the U.K. based Ecology Building Society which invests in sustainable housing and communities, the Italian Banca Etica and the Swiss Alternative Bank.
For further information on Ethical Banking go to www.wbbeurope.org/alternatives.php
::Ecology Building Society ::Smile ::the co-operative bank ::Triodos ::Banca Etica ::Swiss Alternative Bank
[Leonora & Petz]