The Co-operative will not invest in any businesses that are felt to be unethical; Arms manufacturers, tobacco manufacturers, fossil fuel companies and furriers are not approved by the current regulations. This policy not only governs future investments, it is also retroactive. Eighty million pounds of assets that were considered unethical by the Co-operative have been sold off, and the money has been reinvested.
This ‘operating plan’ is the first of its kind implemented by an insurance company although other organizations with large investment portfolios have drafted similar investment codes. Oxford University has pledged to remove some of its assets from arms manufacturers, although these kinds of investment achieve the greatest returns.