Plan A is partnering up with #mymoneymyplanet to raise awareness on unsustainable banking. Sustainable finance is a major battlefield of climate action. Your bank can contribute to your sustainability journey. We need to know where our savings are invested – are they funding companies that are creating a better planet or supporting some of the biggest culprits to our environment. It’s #mymoneymyplanet.

To support this campaign, it’s easy! Take a picture of you with your credit card (hide the numbers!) and post it on your social media with the hashtag #MyMoneyMyPlanet. 

Where does your money go? #mymoneymyplanet (Credit: Mattrinvest)

What action can have up to 27 times more carbon impact than changing your habits and that you use every day in your life? Changing to a sustainable bank.

What banks have to do with sustainability?

Since the Paris agreement in 2015, the world’s largest investment banks have provided more than $700bn of financing for the fossil fuel companies most aggressively expanding in new coal, oil and gas projects. Despite international commitment to reduce CO2 emissions, banks are still contributing to climate change by financing fossil fuel companies.  

Did you ever wonder where does your money go once you put it on your bank account? 

The money on your bank account (your saving as well as your salary) is used by the bank to give credits to companies and individuals. Banks invest in projects with the most potential profit and those projects are led by fossil fuel companies. This means that anyone with a bank account indirectly supports the investments made by their banks, even those unethical and contrary to the client’s values. This is where the story of sustainable finance starts.

Banks financing fossil fuels from 2013 to 2015
Banking on climate change, 2020 (Credit: Rainforest Action Network)

Coal industry still receives billions from investment banks

Top banks finance billions for companies active in coal mining, coal power plants or so-called “extreme oil” reserves such as the Arctic, tar sands, and ultra-deep offshore. While the renewable share of energy is continuing its growth in 2020 and next year, oil, gas and coal companies are exposed to not only climate factors but also instability due to the variability of the price of crude. Fossil fuels companies – the largest corporations in the world – also receive subsidies from governments to maintain the flow of the strategic resource.

Why is it so bad?

The financial industry has a critical role to play in helping to limit the effects of global warming, given the central role it has in global economies and societies. Currently, the largest banks in the world didn’t take adequate action to contribute to shifting to a decarbonized economy. 

The results of the last Rainforest Action Network report, ‘Banking on climate change, 2020”, confirmed that banks aren’t taking enough action to reduce their impact. As Alison Kirsch, a researcher from the network said: “The data reveal that global banks are not only ramping up financing of fossil fuels overall but are also increasing funding for the companies most responsible for fossil fuel expansion.”

Total financing for fossil fuels
Banking on climate change, 2020 by Rainforest Action Network
Banking on climate change, 2020 by Rainforest Action Network

So how can individuals have any impact if all banks are so bad? Well, the picture is more nuanced and there are ways we can change this paradigm together. A movement of “sustainable finance” has emerged following the growing appetite of customers for environmental justice.

What is sustainable finance? 

Sustainable finance refers broadly to the process of taking into account environmental and social considerations in investment decisions for the lasting benefit of both clients and society at large. Make your money work for your values by promoting sustainable projects and ending fossil fuel finance on your behalf.    

Sustainability is indeed also a consumption issue. We need to cut plastic waste, recycle more, buy second hand, adapt our diet and eat more locally. This will help us reduce our carbon footprint and create a new sustainable society. We also believe that the root causes of this crisis are deeper. According to ​Nordea​, you can have up to 27x more impact by channelling your funds into a sustainable pension fund than by changing your daily habits to more sustainable ones.

Increasing momentum for change

For example, BNP-Paribas, one of the largest and less ethical bank, withdrew its financing from a shale gas project in Texas because of the pressure of environmental organisations such as Friends of Earth. Consumers, citizens, we have the power to make positive changes. 

Join the campaign #MyMoneyMyPlanet organised by Mattrvest to ask your bank for more transparency on their investment and to require a shift in sustainable investment. To join the campaign, it’s easy! 

Take a picture of you with your credit card and post it on your social media with the hashtag #MyMoneyMyPlanet, tag your bank as well to challenge it and to demand more transparency within the financial industry.