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In our latest independent, ethical research on UK Banks and Building Societies, Santander, Bank of Scotland, Citibank, Halifax, Lloyds, TSB, Barclays, First Direct, HSBC, Natwest, and RBS all rank among the lowest for ethics. Putting aside issues of Corporate Tax Dodging, one thing many of these banks share in common is a terrible environmental record, which, in the context of modern global ecological crises, should be of central concern to us all.

Three UK banks are among the world’s biggest lenders to the coal-mining industry, despite trumpeting their environmental credentials, a new report has found. Royal Bank of Scotland, which is majority-owned by UK taxpayers, is alleged to be by far the biggest of the UK banks involved, providing finance of nearly €5bn (£4bn) to the industry in the last eight years. It ranked as the world’s eighth biggest lender to coal-mining operations, according to a study from a group of non-governmental organisations.

Barclays is the next biggest UK bank on the list, with more than €3.5bn in lending, and HSBC – which in 2004 boasted of being the first major company in the UK to go “carbon-neutral” – provided about €2.5bn in finance over the same period.

One thing you can do to assist the transition to a more environmentally friendly world, is support the Move your Money campaign. HSBC, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Santander have all been targeted by the Move your Money campaign, which is urging customers of these banks to close their accounts unless they cut all ties with coal, tar sands, fracking and other fossil-fuel industries.

Moving your money to an ethical alternative is a fairly easy thing to do. By divesting from these banks and by moving your money to an ethical alternative bank or building society, not only are you supporting the transition to a more environmentally just world, but you’re also supporting the transition to a more just economic and political system.

For a detailed breakdown of our research, please see the Banks & Building Societies section of The Good Shopping Guide.

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