Top 6 fossil fuel-free current accounts

Written by Lori Campbell on 17th Jun 2024

The fossil fuel-free movement is growing at pace, with banks increasingly under pressure to stop financing climate change.

Last year alone, the ‘Big 5’ banking giants – Barclays, HSBC, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds – provided $37 billion (£29.3 billion) to oil and gas companies, which are driving the climate crisis. This is despite these same banks marketing their ‘sustainability initiatives’ and making public pledges to cut their carbon emissions.

One of the easiest ways to ensure your money is being used in an environmentally-friendly way is to choose an ethical current account.

Here we look at six providers that are committed to NOT investing in fossil fuels.


1. Triodos Bank

Triodos is on a mission to “make money work for positive change” – it not only refuses to finance destructive industries such as fossil fuels, it ALSO actively supports companies and organisations that are making a positive impact on the environment and/or society.

Sectors Triodos invests in include renewable energy, sustainable farming, education, charities and social housing. As well as fossil fuels, you won’t find it investing in destructive industries such as fast fashion, weapons, tobacco or deforestation.

The bank was the first (and is still the only) bank to be awarded a Good With Money ‘Good Egg’ mark. It is also a B Corp company, which means it is committed to meeting high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.

Triodos does have a £3 charge on its current account, which it says is fairer and more transparent than ‘hidden charges’ added by many big name high street banks. However, its current account no longer comes with an overdraft facility.


2. The Co-operative Bank

The Co-op Bank is the only high-street bank in the UK with a customer-led ethical policy, which it launched in 1992.

Through its ethical screening process, the Co-op Bank says it will not provide banking services to any business or organisation “whose activity contributes to global climate change such as through the extraction of fossil fuels and the unsustainable harvest of natural resources.”

The Co-op Bank says it is committed to becoming a ‘lifetime carbon neutral bank.’ This means that it will calculate and offset not just its carbon emissions going forward, but its historic emissions since 1872.

Currently, the majority of the bank is currently owned by US hedge funds and other financial institutions that don’t have the best of ethical reputations. However, it is in the process of being bought by Coventry Building Society, subject to approval from the financial services regulators.

Although it is unclear whether the Co-op’s ethical policy will stay after the merger, the bank will become part of a mutual (a naturally more ethical set up) under Coventry. The society is a certified B Corp – the only building society to date to gain this recognition.

The Co-op Bank says it will carry on operating as normal while work takes place to provide “a joined-up service,” which is expected to take several years. During that time, the bank’s ethical policy will remain in place.

For a “limited time,” the Co-op is offering a £150 incentive to switch.

Top 7 ethical current accounts in 2024

3. Nationwide Building Society

As a building society, Nationwide must hold at least 75 per cent of its assets in residential property, making it far less likely than its big bank competitors to be lending to unsustainable firms.

It is part of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, committing to a net-zero future by 2050 at the latest. It says: “We won’t invest any of our members’ money held in current accounts or in savings in fossil fuels.” Nationwide in the process of becoming gas-free by the end of 2030 and uses 100 per cent renewable electricity.

The society’s profits are invested back into the business for the benefit of borrowers and savers (it’s “members”) rather than shareholders. In June 2024, it handed back £100 each to 3.4 million eligible members for the second year running after its annual profits rocketed 40 per cent to £2.22 billion.

Nationwide is currently offering a £200 switching incentive.


4. Metro Bank

As an ‘ethical community bank’, Metro says it “will not lend directly” for:

  • metal ore mining, coal mining; peat, oil or gas extraction
  • fossil fuel power generation
  • activities that cause deforestation
  • arms manufacture or military activities

The bank says: “We recognise that climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today and understand the important role we can play in overcoming it.” It has therefore pledged to make its operations net zero by 2030 and be net zero for operational, supply chain and financed emissions by 2050.

However, Bank.Green says it would like to see Metro start making a greater contribution to the clean energy transition – by financing renewable energy projects and developing green products that reward customers for engaging in climate-friendly practices (such as green mortgages).

Top 7 ethical business current accounts in 2024

5. Algbra

Launched in 2022, Algbra offers a finance app and mastercard debit card. It says: “Your money should match your values. Unlike mainstream banks, we will never hold your money in unethical industries or high-risk ways.”

As well as not investing in fossil fuels, Algbra helps you keep track of your one environmental impact through a personal carbon footprint tracking app. It is also making a concerted effort to reduce its operational emissions.

Algbra is not ideal for storing larger sums of money because it is not registered with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so doesn’t provide the highest level of insurance for your money. However, with 1-1.15 per cent cash back, it could be useful for budgeting smaller sums of money and day to day purchases. It also gives 10 per cent of its profits to community organisations.


6. Starling Bank

App-based bank Starling says it expressly avoids “directly” funding fossil fuels, mining, arms and military, and instead invests in “government securities and other high quality liquid assets”.

It says: “We invest your money on supranational bonds and securities backed by UK residential mortgages. These investments are to support the Bank’s liquidity. We carefully consider who we invest in, taking into account a number of factors. We do not invest directly in fossil fuels.”

However, it is worth noting that despite its longstanding opposition to fossil fuels, in March 2021 Starling accepted funding from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. The fund was set up in 2005 to invest Qatar’s substantial oil and natural gas revenues around the world.

A spokesman for Starling Bank said that “one of the key roles of QIA is to reduce Qatar’s dependence on revenues derived from oil and gas and to expand investment into non-hydrocarbon sectors. That’s one reason why it has been investing in a range of well-known British brands in addition to Starling.”

Don't miss the good stuff!

Sign up for the newest and best green money deals in your inbox every week