Triodos Bank believes AI systems must have human dignity at their core, and be humanity –centered, upholding fundamental rights and benefitting broader societal wellbeing. People should always be in control; any decision on ethical issues that could affect the rights and dignity of groups and individuals should never be fully outsourced to machines.

Triodos Bank takes its role, to use money consciously, seriously. It has developed its own views and high-level expectations for the businesses it finances and companies it invests in. These expectations aim to ensure commitment to responsible AI and good practices in AI development and use.

 Triodos Bank sees many positive applications of AI, yet also negative ones. Triodos Bank strongly condemns the use of AI systems for lethal autonomous weapons, biometric identification in public spaces, biometric categorization, social scoring and cognitive and behavioural manipulation, and is committed to exclude companies that engage in such activities, in line with its existing minimum standards.

We believe all financial institutions need to screen companies for good practices or engage with them to raise their standards. They should demand that companies demonstrate awareness regarding the risks and impacts of AI technology on human rights and business ethics. They should also demand companies to refrain from harmful activities, such as contributing to the dissemination of lethal autonomous weapons or facilitating state surveillance.

As corporate citizens, financial institutions have a broader responsibility to society. They can use their voice in the public arena and towards institutions to advocate for responsible practices in AI technology. They should also live up to the same standards they require of their investees and financed businesses, and work to ensure proper governance around AI technology.

As a bank founded on ethical and sustainable principles, Triodos Bank is dedicated to responsible action, urging peers in the financial sector to ensure AI technology is advanced and deployed with a strong emphasis on human dignity. Financial entities wield significant influence and carry the responsibility to guide AI’s evolution to honor human rights and morality, thus playing a pivotal role in forging a sustainable and equitable society for everyone.