Many of us are moving our investments to greener options and driving fuel-efficient vehicles. Some are installing solar panels to reduce our carbon footprints or biking more. But are we supporting the financing of climate chaos through our banking activities? Despite our best intentions, are we indirectly supporting investments in fossil fuel companies and projects?
Bank.Green recently announced its Fossil Free Banking Alliance to help empower climate-conscious consumers to move their money away from banks that finance the climate crisis. Alliance members have been Fossil Free Certified by Bank.Green and do not finance fossil fuel companies or projects.
Why support fossil-fuel-free banking?
We need to dramatically reduce the use of natural gas, coal, and oil. Yet we still see the development of new pipelines and projects, as well as the fortification of fossil fuel infrastructure. Without adequate financing, many of these projects could not proceed. The greater the investment in fossil fuels, the slower the transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.
From 2016 to 2020, 60 of the world’s largest commercial and investment banks invested $3.8 trillion in fossil fuels. Yet, it is hard for individuals to know such information about a given bank without conducting extensive research. The Fossil Free Banking Alliance was created to promote and help consumers identify green banking services.
“For too long, traditional banks funneled trillions of dollars into the fossil fuel industry without sharing that information with their customers,” says Ando’s CEO, J.P. McNeill. “We encourage others in the industry to do the right thing and join us in being proudly Fossil Free Certified.”
A movement to divest from fossil fuels
At the time of publication, only nine banks comprise the Fossil Free Banking Alliance. Ideally, the alliance will have a ripple effect, encouraging other financial institutions to follow. The initiative will also help banks get the recognition they deserve for their leadership in this area.
“There are a lot of fossil-free banks out there that don’t have a way of shouting about it yet,” says Zak Gottlieb, director and co-founder of Bank Green. “Fossil Free Certification is the simplest way to signal to customers, professionals in the banking sector, and the general public that a sustainability-conscious financial institution is putting its money where its mouth is.”
Individual actions to help green the banking industry
Bank.Green is a not-for-profit “that aims to educate the public on the environmental destruction funded by the banking industry while fostering an empowered community to take action.” Its website has a tool for researching banks that do not support fossil fuels.
Even if there is no fossil-free bank listing for your location, or you’re simply not ready to switch banks, you can still make a difference. Express your concerns about your money being used to help fund fracking, oil and gas pipelines, fossil fuel power stations, and other unsustainable activities that harm the planet.
The goal: collective action influences the banking industry to divest itself from fossil fuels. The result? One step closer to a more sustainable world.