Banking: Things to Consider
Several factors play a role in choosing the right financial institution to look after your money. That may be the level of interest rate, service, or fees. But one factor that should be given more consideration is the extent in which that institution values environmental protection.
With some of the money gathered from their clients, banks are able to loan that out to other businesses, members, or clients. Banks may also invest that money in support of certain operations. To what cause banks support are solely dependent on the institutions’ vision or mission. Choosing the proper bank is an important financial decision because it holds the weight of deciding who has access to that money and what causes/ideas they support with your money.
What do banks have to do with environmental prosperity?
Although the 2015 Paris Climate Conference proclaimed an end to the fossil fuel era, the world’s 60 biggest banks have financed $3.8tn for fossil fuel companies since then. During this conference, it was agreed that for the global temperature to stop increasing, more existing fossil fuel reserves should remain in the ground. The trillions of dollars that banks have funded for the fossil fuel industry completely contradicts the need for companies to tackle the climate crisis immediately. Banks, therefore, are responsible for funding the continued mining and burning of oil, coal and gas. This directly contributes to the surplus of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, ultimately increasing the global temperature.
One case that represents a bank which reevaluated their environmental decisions is Asian Development Bank (ADB). ADB is an Asia-Pacific-based bank that has funded $4.7billion for coal, oil, and gas projects since the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Nearly two-thirds of their funding also went to the development of fossil fuel exploration and extraction. As of May 2021, it was revealed that they would cease to fund projects related to coal, oil, and gas. The aim of this new program according to Zhai Yongping, head of the ADB energy sector, is to encourage the decrease in the use of fossil fuels in Asia and coal-fired power plants.
Unfortunately, Indonesian banks have yet to adapt to this. A study by ResponsiBank Coalition examined financing trends in many financial institutions from 8 countries over the course of 10 years. According to Secretariat Coordinator of ResponsiBank Rotua Nuraini , BNI, BCA, CITI Bank, CIMB Niaga, and Bank Panin are among many Indonesian banks that finance the fossil fuel industry. These banks also fund less renewable energy in comparison.
Citigroup and HSBC poured over US $ 40 billion of funds for dirty energy, whilst they only provide US $ 5-8 billion for renewable energy.
For fossil energy, BCA spends US $ 190 million compare to renewable energy of only US $ 3 million.
Bank Mandiri spends for fossil fuels rose 283% from US $ 143 million to $ 547 million, while for renewable energy funds rose from US $ 1.4 million to $ 6.4 million.
Bank BNI provides 18% more for fossil energy with renewable energy spending fell 8%. BRI for fossils funds rose 142% and 128% for renewable energy from US $ 2.5 million to $ 5.8 million.
CIMB Group decreases its fund to 100% for renewable energy, fossil rose to 102%.
What you can do
Corporate decisions made by major banks are out of the hands of us consumers. However, you have the power to appropriately designate your money and trust to a bank that is in line with your environmental advocacies. As long as you are in the position to support ethical banks, you can be content knowing your money will be funded to the right causes or operations. To do so, it’s important to do substantial research on banks that you are interested in. investigate your bank and learn what they would use your money for. By checking an official website or contacting the bank, information can be gathered on what causes or operations that bank funds to. It’s also important to stay up-to-date on any changes the bank makes on their investments. It’s not always easy to find out how banks invest their cash, but a new tool from Bank.Green means you can investigate your own bank for free.
Fossil fuels producers account for a majority of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. It’s always important to note that the world’s biggest firms, industries, and companies are most responsible for environmental degradation today. While the system cannot change itself, it is up to the consumers to make the right decisions to save the environment.
Carrington D. Big banks’ trillion-dollar finance for fossil fuels ‘shocking’, says report [Internet]. the Guardian. 2021 [cited 26 June 2021]. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/24/big-banks-trillion-dollar-finance-for-fossil-fuels-shocking-says-report
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Simpson N. How to stop funding fossil fuels by moving to an ethical bank [Internet]. Extinction Rebellion. 2020 [cited 26 June 2021]. Available from: https://rebellion.global/blog/2020/09/21/ethical-banks/