Is your money being used by your bank to make your life worse? Hopefully not! A bank I used to do business with was literally funding the tar sands with my money, so I withdrew my money and took it to another institution.
Wondering if your bank is trying to make the air less breathable for your kids or grandchildren? You can find out using a nifty new tool called Bank Track that tells you if your bank is funding climate destruction. They have tips on how to talk to your bank and how to move from one financial institution to another.
This engagement with banks could play an important role in shifting such institutions from a fossil fuel dependent pathway. Indeed after a PPL PWR event on “Not just for a rainy day: How to green your finance” at COP26, a spokesperson said, “Whilst the financial system can seem intimidatingly complex, cold, and calculating, it’s important to remember we have power. Our money is what drives the system, so do your research, use your voice, and get your feet on the street to demand a financial system that invests in our future.”
The message about the possibility of making an effective difference in a really simple way is important because, as Ellen Harrison corporate projects manager at Triodos Bank pointed out ,people are slow to change especially in terms of banking saying, “We are more likely to stay faithful to our bank than our partner.” The campaign resonates given the recent announcement that 450 financial institutions have committed to aligning their portfolios with net zero by 2050. This is a major step by the financial sector but has raised serious concerns about the potential for greenwash, given that there is little detail about milestones, timelines or the need to move out of investment in fossil fuels.