Does my bank account fund climate change?
Chances are it does... but there's something we can all do about it
Since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, over 35 global banks have invested over £2 trillion in fossil fuel projects. To put that into perspective, you would have to give away £1 million every single day for over 5,400 years to spend £2 trillion. Below are the banks responsible:
This is not a complete list, but if your bank is here then it is complicit in fuelling the climate crisis.
As a consumer, this is not your fault. But you can play a major part in stopping this from happening. Put simply, if you bank with one of these companies or their subsidiaries – then switch. If customers on mass began switching away from these banks, they would soon end their destructive investments.
But I can trust my bank, right?
Try this: call your bank today and ask, “as a customer, can you tell me if you or any of your subsidiaries provide any services or finances to fossil fuel companies or other such activities that are harmful to the environment?”
Even if your bank says it has a plan to decarbonise by 2050, is that a reason for staying with them? They could be funding the climate and ecological emergency for a further three decades while there are plenty of existing banks that don’t destroy the planet on a daily basis.
Don’t be fooled by loyalty. The banks listed are directly implicated in the climate crisis and are accelerating the devastation. You may have banked with them for many years, but their priority is paying their shareholders, bosses and premium customers. You don’t owe them anything.
How easy is it to switch?
Don’t feel beholden or trapped by your existing bank. If you want to switch bank accounts, it is easy. Nearly all banks will switch your account (including all your transactions, direct debits, standing orders and overdrafts) instantly and easily. You probably don’t even need to contact your existing bank.
Finance often seems scary and complex. But it is quick, easy and extremely secure to move your money away from banks that refuse to act on climate change.
Who can I trust?
The Good Shopping Guide uses a comprehensive assessment process to give banks an ethical index score, which are compared and regularly updated. The Ethical Consumer also provides a detailed assessment on various banks beyond environmental issues as well.
If you don’t go into bank branches, consider a purely online bank. These companies tend to have lower carbon footprints simply through the lack of branches and by being mostly paperless.
Banks with strong environmental policies also tend to have strong social and human rights policies too. If they don’t fund fossil fuels, they probably don’t fund arms dealers or companies with civil rights violations.
What else can I do?
Tell people! When you find a bank that is right for you and is part of the solution, tell your friends and family so they can join you on the right side of history.
You can also share this article to spread the message. No high street bank is honestly going to tell the public how much it gives to climate destructive industries – so it’s up to us.