By Stephen Cross - posted on March 10, 2020

When the news hits

It's been a busy time in the news recently. Between Brexit and Coronavirus businesses have had their hands full gauging how they are going to respond to rapidly changing climates.

With so many decisions needing to be made in any small business, how we choose to prioritise them can depend on a number of factors. If Eisenhower taught us anything, it's that more often than not this comes down to the urgent tasks, leaving the important ones waiting for the extra time and resource required to action them.

Last year we identified that the current crop of highstreet banks do not fully align with all of our ethical requirements. We agreed that moving banks was an important step for BPG but with few reasons for moving it to the urgent list it went straight into the important pile where it has remained ever since.

We work with clients who aim to put in more than they take out, and this is the commitment we would ideally like from all of our partners, including our bank. In our naivite we assumed that we were dealing with 'less than ideal' rather than 'actively harmful', we did not think to research the active investment policies of Barclays, or others.

As leaders, therefore, we need to take the actions necessary to earn long-term trust and commitment as a foundation for long-term value creation. Our actions and decisions must this be socially beneficial, culturally desirable, ethically justifiable, economically feasible, ecologically responsible, and, above all, convincing and transparent.

John McFarlane, Chairman of Barclays until May 2019

Through February and March Barclays managed to hit the headlines twice. The first one rather passed us by but the second couldn't be missed. Especially if you were looking to enter one of their branches on the 2nd of March.

Greenpeace's campaign aimed to draw public attention to the destructive activities of Barclays bank. Our bank. It might be easy to write-off Greenpeace's work as an inconvenient stunt but as we looked at the issues we realised that the investment practices of our own bank sat at sharp odds to our own ethos and values.

In light of this we are unable to keep the transition to a new bank low on our priority list. This has now gone onto the urgent pile. As of this March 2020 we have established a 6 month plan for transitioning away from Barclays.

Having assessed the list of banks that maintain an ethical promise it appears to us that the outstanding leader is Triodos.

Our plan, we will:
- establish an account with Triodos this month
- deposit six month's running into it and move our outgoings to this account
- use this account, and Triodos for six months to determine it's suitability and fit for our business
- move all clients to our new details and month four, with a view to closing our current accounts with Barclays, or;
- review and create a new plan - with an update in the run up to Q4 2020.

Meet Stephen Cross

Stephen is a strategist and coach with some facilitation training thrown in for good measure. A maker by nature, Stephen's role as a partner at We Are BPG centres around building services for organisations that put purpose above profit.