For many Australians, it’s no longer enough to find a bank with competitive interest rates and services – it’s also now crucial that they tout the same social, environmental, and community values they do. Based on 2022 findings by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia, four out of five Australians (83%) now expect their savings to be “responsibly and ethically invested” in the right causes and business projects.
As ethical finance gains prominence, it could be worth switching to a bank with a greater awareness of people’s needs and making lasting, positive impacts on the world around them.
What is ethical banking?
Ethical banking refers to how certain banks operate around a specific set of core values and beliefs that help leave a positive impact on their community, the environment, and the world in general. This may include contributing to social causes such as affordable housing, access to education, and fair work opportunities. Such practices also involve the implementation and promotion of sustainability, like paperless banking and offsetting the carbon footprint of their banking products.
These banks may thus screen their potential clients and exclude those who don’t align with their ethical practices or policies. They would also need to keep both their internal and external ethics consistent – meaning that anything they deem ethical externally must also be implemented in their own workplace. For example, should a bank deny work with a client due to their wasteful energy consumption, the bank must therefore exemplify sustainable energy practices and efforts to reduce their carbon emissions.
Additionally, ethical banks will emphasize accountability and transparency amongst its employees and external parties, helping build and strengthen trustworthy professional relationships.
The benefits of joining an ethical bank
1. They support community development
Ethical banks often “give back” to their communities. By joining an ethical bank, you could help support their efforts in improving the opportunities and welfare of the people around them. This could include community development programs such as educational funding, tree planting, providing affordable housing, medical funding, and enhancing food security.
We’ve partnered with a variety of charity organisations that seek to improve the lives of those in need. These include:
- Variety, an institution dedicated to supporting children’s growth, equity, and social inclusion.
- Foodbank, a hunger relief charity that has provided food and groceries to over 815,000 Australians every month. In 2021, a total of $15,000 AUD had been donated to support their efforts, providing two meals for those in need for every $1 donation.
- Black Dog Institute, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the research, prevention, and treatment of mental illnesses; with a particular focus on the demographics with specific mental health needs, such as the youth, men, and Indigenous communities. In 2022, we donated $5,000 AUD in support of their efforts.
- Friends with Dignity, a national charity that aims to help those displaced by domestic violence. In 2019, we hosted multiple internal fundraising events, raising a total of $6,315 in support of the organisation.
2. They support sustainable practices
Ethical banks typically prioritise their impact on the environment, implementing new ways of conserving their water, energy, and natural resource usage. This could include relying on more energy-efficient lighting and appliances; promoting recycling and responsible waste disposal; and establishing paperless practices. By pursuing greener, “eco-friendly” initiatives, they ensure a much more sustainable approach to banking, helping conserve the environment rather than lend to its ongoing destruction.
We currently support multiple environmental initiatives, including:
- Paperless banking – involving the promotion of digital, rather than primarily paper-based banking services. This includes electronic customer service and encouraging the use of eStatements.
- Qudos Bank Around the Office, which encompass a wide range of sustainable practices including the recycling of coffee pods and toner cartridges; using recycled paper for printing; and encouraging new staff to invest in a reusable keep cup.
- AEG’s corporate sustainability program, AEG 1Earth; which include activities that support sustainability such as community clean-ups, environmental performance tracking, and exchanging best sustainable practices with other venues.
3. They help combat climate change
In a similar vein, ethical banks typically support initiatives that help fight global warming and general climate change. Those who join ethical banks could help fund these causes and contribute to the preservation of our planet.
On top of supporting greener corporate initiatives, ethical banks may also refuse to work with businesses involved in the fossil fuel industry or in projects with environmentally destructive outcomes (i.e. improper waste disposal, overuse of plastic, deforestation).
We’re a bank that supports organisations who actively fight against climate change, such as:
- Greenfleet, an institution focused on restoring biodiverse forests across Australia and New Zealand to help offset carbon emissions. Over the past decade, their partnership with us has resulted in the planting of around 50,000 trees, helping offset over 14,000 tonnes of carbon.
- ReForest Now, a not-for-profit dedicated to the planting of trees and rainforest restoration in Australia. In 2022, we donated $10,000 to the organisation in support of their efforts to restore the Booyong Nature Reserve of the Big Scrub rainforest – a highly endangered ecosystem.
Additionally, we ensure that our customers’ deposits are invested ethically, avoiding investments in projects or businesses involved in the coal or fossil fuel industry. We further take care to avoid investing in companies engaged with live export or factory farming.
Make a change with ethical banking
A bank that aligns with your social and environmental values could help you ensure your money goes towards supporting the greater good.
Qudos Bank commits to investing in projects that help improve the lives of others, along with eco-friendly practices that lend to the preservation of our planet. By joining our bank, you can rest assure your savings have a positive impact on the world and those around you.
1. Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). 2022. “From Values to Riches 2022: Charting consumer demand for responsible investing in Australia”. https://responsibleinvestment.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/From-Values-to-Riches-2022_RIAA.pdf
2. BankTrack. “What is… ethical banking?”. https://www.banktrack.org/download/what_is_ethical_banking_/what_is_ethical_banking.pdf
Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305.
The information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.
Published April 2023