Is your bank financing fossil fuels?

by | 12 May 2023

Is your bank financing fossil fuels?

“We need to hold fossil fuel companies and their enablers to account. That includes the banks, private equity, asset managers and other financiers that continue to invest and underwrite carbon pollution.”UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres September 2022

This statement from last year hits the nail on the head, we do need to hold carbon enablers to account, but how do we do it?

Have you ever given any thought to the fact that where you keep your money has an impact on the climate? The majority of us haven’t…  why would it even cross our minds?

The line we are sold is we all need to stop flying and stop eating meat to have any positive impact on the climate, but we are not told that just by having a bank account we could be funding the climate crisis!

So how does where we bank have an impact?

Through the bank accounts, pensions, savings and insurance we choose we have unknowingly and indirectly become owners of significant chunks of the worlds biggest companies, many of which are fossil fuel companies.

Banks continue to invest in fossil fuels in spite of their public pledges to reach net zero. Some of the largest banks in the world are pumping billions into fossil fuel projects, between them, 35 of the worlds biggest banks have provided £2 trillion to fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement was officially signed at the end of 2015!

By financing fossil fuel expansion banks are effectively handing the fossil fuel industry funds that could instead be used to develop renewable energy, develop new electric powered steel production, or phase out coal and gas plants for example…

At the same time as pumping billions into fossil fuels, banks have recognized the market demand from investors and end consumers concerned about the climate crisis and ethical investing, and taken advantage of this by providing supposed ESG Funds and Ethical Investment… followed by a tsunami of greenwashing!  

So how do you know if your bank is funding climate change?

Navigating the financial system can be tricky and knowing where to look is sometimes impossible, but a great FREE tool has been developed by Bank Green which allows you to easily check the record of your bank to see if it funds fossil fuels and climate change, and it takes less than a minute…

What to do once you discover your bank funds fossil fuels and climate change?

Once you start asking questions about your bank it will no doubt quickly become clear that you have been funding climate change without knowing. Barlcays Bank recently came out on top of the list of worst offenders and so many people have banked with them for years…

But knowledge is power, once you have taken the very simple step to check your bank (using the Bank Green app mentioned above) you can then decide which bank to switch to, ensuring it no longer funds fossil fuels.

There are a number of websites which continuously monitor banks and provide lists of those to use and those to avoid, so a little bit of research will be required here to ensure the bank is ethical and green but also right for you and your requirements.

The number of ethical, green, and sustainable banks to choose from is growing, choosing which one to use is a unique decision based on circumstances and requirements, but there are a couple which have been around for a little while that you may have heard of as a starting point; Triodos and Monzo.

Most people’s pension will be the largest investment they ever hold, so choosing an ethical pension is one of the most ethically productive and environmentally friendly things you can do.

Collectively we can have some kind of influence on the capital markets of the world if we choose carefully where we put our money, so what are you waiting for? Check your bank, research green ethical alternatives, and switch!

For help on your green journey within your business to reduce and improve your environmental impact get in touch, we offer bespoke ESG and Green packages for all your requirements.

For more green, sustainable tips and articles take a look at our other blog posts, or pop over to Instagram and LinkedIn and check out @achievinggreenness where we provide you with the motivation, evidence, and tools you may need to become greener.

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