Picture not described

Finder Green Banking Awards 2023

Find out which UK banking brands are leading the way on sustainability.

We know that lots of people are starting to think green with their money but it isn’t easy to cut through the greenwash and assess how sustainable the different banks in the UK really are. We created the Finder Green Banking Awards to solve that problem.

Watch our video of the awards announcement or continue reading below to reveal our winners!

Green Bank of the Year for 2023

In order to decide our Green Bank of the Year for 2023 we assessed the UK’s most popular banking brands’ sustainability credentials across 3 key areas:

  1. Operational emissions – This represents the carbon footprint of a bank’s physical footprint including any branches it runs, vehicles it owns or offices it uses.
  2. Net zero targets – This shows us the ambition from the bank for making sustainability improvements in the future.
  3. Position on financing fossil fuels – This helps us understand whether the bank is financing major contributors to the climate crisis like the fossil fuel industry.

If you want more detailed information on any of this you can find it our methodology section.

Based on these three categories, Triodos Bank is our Green Bank of the Year for 2023 as the only bank to get excellent scores across the board. It boasts low operational emissions and is leading the pack by aiming for net zero for all emissions including financed emissions by 2035. From a financed emissions perspective, not only does it have no exposure to fossil fuels but its lending and investment activities in 2022 actually had a net positive impact on the environment. Now we know that many of you won’t have heard of this small ethically focused bank but you might be surprised that it has over 70,000 customers in the UK and eligible deposits up to a total of £85,000 are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

There’s also a number of more well-known alternatives that scored well in the Finder Green Bank Awards. Digital banks with a smaller operational footprint tended to score well with Monzo leading the pack and Starling Bank close on its tail. If you’re looking for a bank with a high-street presence then your best bets are either Nationwide Building Society or The Co-operative Bank.

BankOperational
emissions
Net zero
targets
Position on
fossil fuels
Green
Bank Rating
Triodos BankExcellentExcellentExcellent★★★★★ Read our review
MonzoGoodExcellentExcellent★★★★★ Visit Monzo
Starling BankExcellentAverageExcellent★★★★★ Read our review
NationwideAverageAverageExcellent★★★★★ Read our review
Co-operative BankAverageAverageExcellent★★★★★ Visit The Co-operative Bank

Green Digital Bank of the Year 2023

Digital banks have proved popular in the UK by offering user-friendly smartphone-based banking services so we created a Green Digital Bank of the Year category as part of the Finder Green Bank awards.

This was a close run race but our Green Digital Bank of the Year for 2023 is Monzo. Monzo stood out for its ambitious target of getting to net zero by 2030 which puts it well ahead of the 2050 targets that are the norm in the banking sector. It also scored well for its policy to not invest in or lend to fossil fuel businesses and, like other digital banks, its operational emissions benefit from a lack of branches. We’d still love to see a clear plan from Monzo on how it hopes to get to net zero by 2030 and improved disclosure on its financed emissions to push its score even higher.

Starling Bank is very close behind when it comes to sustainable digital banking. It has exceptionally low operational emissions and it has a clear policy to not invest in the fossil fuel sector. It is behind the pack when it comes to net zero targets though. It would need to target net zero in a year before 2050 to improve in this area or set a nearer term net zero operational emissions target like some of its peers. Revolut also fell behind by not having an ambitious net zero target or clarity on its financed emissions.

It’s worth noting that some digital banks did not score so well when it comes to sustainability. These tended to be the digital banks backed by a larger banking group. First Direct is part of the HSBC group and Chase Bank is backed by JPMorgan – both of which are major financiers of the fossil fuel industry and their scores were impacted accordingly.

BankOperational
emissions
Net zero
targets
Position on
fossil fuels
Finder Green
Bank Rating
MonzoGoodExcellentExcellent★★★★★ Visit Monzo
Starling BankExcellentAverageExcellent★★★★★ Read our review
RevolutExcellentPoorAverage★★★★★ Read our review
First DirectSubparAverageSubpar★★★★★ Visit first direct
Chase BankPoorSubparPoor★★★★★ Read our review

Green High Street Bank of the Year 2023

We know that some people prefer a bank they can visit in person and a longstanding reputation that they can trust. Sustainability may still be a factor for these people and that’s why we created the Green High Street Bank of the Year for banks with at least 50 branches in the UK.

Our Green High Street Bank of the Year for 2023 is Nationwide. Nationwide stands out for its lack of investment in the fossil fuel sector and its impressive approach to reporting on the emissions from its financing activities which is in line with the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials methodology. Its operational emissions are also at the lower end for a high-street bank and it has committed to being net zero by 2050. It has also set out its plan to create targets with the Science Based Target Initiative so approval on this front would improve its score further.

The Co-operative Bank was very close behind with its unique customer-led ethical policy that prevents it from offering banking services to companies in the fossil fuel sector alongside a bunch of other ethical considerations. It also has low operational emissions for a high-street bank and net zero targets in line with the industry. We’d need to see better disclosure on the bank’s financed emissions for it to take the win in this category though. Metro Bank is also worthy of a mention although it scored less well for its operational emissions.

At the other end of the table Barclays, Santander, TSB and HSBC all score badly against our methodology with significant exposure to fossil fuels in their investing or lending activities.

BankOperational
emissions
Net zero
targets
Position on
fossil fuels
Finder Green
Bank Rating
NationwideAverageAverageExcellent★★★★★ Read our review
Co-operative BankAverageAverageExcellent★★★★★ Visit The Co-operative Bank
Metro BankSubparAverageExcellent★★★★★ Read our review
Bank of ScotlandAverageGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
HalifaxAverageGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
Lloyds BankAverageGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
NatWestSubparGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
Royal Bank of ScotlandSubparGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
Ulster BankSubparGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
Virgin MoneySubparGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
HSBCSubparAverageSubpar★★★★★ Read our review
TSBAveragePoorSubpar★★★★★ Read our review
SantanderAverageSubparPoor★★★★★ Visit Santander
BarclaysAverageSubparPoor★★★★★ Read our review

Full green bank ratings table

If you want to see how your bank scores against our methodology then please see the full table below.

BankOperational
emissions
Net zero
targets
Position on
fossil fuels
Finder Green
Bank Rating
Triodos BankExcellentExcellentExcellent★★★★★ Read our review
MonzoGoodExcellentExcellent★★★★★ Visit Monzo
Starling BankExcellentAverageExcellent★★★★★ Read our review
NationwideAverageAverageExcellent★★★★★ Read our review
Co-operative BankAverageAverageExcellent★★★★★ Visit The Co-operative Bank
Metro BankSubparAverageExcellent★★★★★ Read our review
Bank of ScotlandAverageGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
HalifaxAverageGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
Lloyds BankAverageGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
NatWestSubparGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
Royal Bank of ScotlandSubparGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
Ulster BankSubparGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
Virgin MoneySubparGoodAverage★★★★★ Read our review
RevolutExcellentPoorAverage★★★★★ Read our review
First DirectSubparAverageSubpar★★★★★ Visit first direct
HSBCSubparAverageSubpar★★★★★ Read our review
Danske BankSubparSubparSubpar★★★★★ Read our review
TSBAveragePoorSubpar★★★★★ Read our review
SantanderAverageSubparPoor★★★★★ Visit Santander
BarclaysAverageSubparPoor★★★★★ Read our review
Chase BankPoorSubparPoor★★★★★ Read our review
We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

More guides on Finder

Go to site