Make My Money Matter: Campaign calls on high street banks to stop funding fossil fuels

British filmmaker and climate activist Richard Curtis has announced the launch of a new campaign calling on the UK’s top five high street banks to stop funding the expansion of oil, gas and coal mining.

A new campaign run through Curtis’ Make my money count the initiative targets HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds and builds on analysis by the International Energy Agency, which warns that new fossil fuel research is likely to be incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

According to ShareAction’s company 2022 Oil and Gas Expansion ReportSince the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016, all five of the UK’s biggest banks have committed $367.6 billion to the fossil fuel sector, with an additional $141 billion to companies at the forefront of oil and gas expansion.

Research on the new Make My Money Matter campaign, which surveyed over 2,000 UK bank account holders, found that a significant number of customers oppose such investments, with nearly half of respondents – or 44 percent – saying they believe banks should stop financing the expansion of fossil fuel use, and more than a third – or 38 percent – saying they should completely stop funding the fossil fuel sector.

The survey also found that while almost three-quarters of customers believe banks have a responsibility to tackle climate change, 86 percent said they don’t think their bank is currently doing enough to protect the planet.

Additionally, 77 percent of customers said they did not know their banks were financing the expansion of fossil fuel use.

Of the banks surveyed, HSBC invested the most in oil and gas-related projects between 2016 and 2021, investing a total of $59.1 billion. Seventy-seven percent of HSBC customers said they did not know their bank was financing the expansion of fossil fuel use.

Findings from the Banking on Climate Chaos Fossil Fuel Finance 2022 report confirmed these claims, and also revealed that in 2021 alone, HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds financed $15.7 billion for the 50 largest oil and gas expanders.

As part of his research, Art Make my money count The company asked customers if they would switch banks if they knew their bank was financing new oil and gas projects, with nearly one-third – or 29 percent – ​​of customers saying they would.

A new campaign says it is calling on UK banks to listen to their customers and stop funding the expansion of fossil fuel use. It calls on banks to take the following steps, including “immediately” ending direct financing of fossil fuel expansion activities, telling customers that they must stop expansion activities or face financing consequences, and terminating relationships if customers do not act to stop fossil fuel. fuel expansion.

According to Lucy Pinson, founder and director of Reclaim Finance, their oil and gas policy tracker showed that most UK banks have no policy to end support for oil and gas expansion, a move she called “Net Zero Greenwash”. .

“Customers are right to demand better,” she added. UK banks urgently need to adjust their game and move their money away from new oil and gas. Both the United Nations and the International Energy Agency have recently confirmed that the fossil fuel era must soon end and be replaced by clean energy to limit global warming to 1.5C.”

Make My Money Matter founder Richard Curtis said UK banks are in a “dangerous relationship” with the fossil fuel industry.

“Not only is this bad for the planet and the people who live on it, it goes against the wishes of millions of UK citizens who want their banks to tackle the climate crisis, not fuel the fires,” he added.

He suggested that banks could instead be the “beating heart” of a cleaner, greener economy by putting more money into climate solutions, showing the fossil fuel industry that the future is green, while ensuring that UK citizens have banks , which they can be proud of.

“Now is the time for urgent, ambitious, extraordinary action by our banks,” he said. “Their customers expect it, and the world urgently needs it.”

The UK’s leading banks have adopted net-zero strategies and are ramping up investment in low-carbon infrastructure, while developing transition plans that should reduce investment in high-carbon assets over time.

Industry insiders say banks are working with carbon-intensive companies to help them develop credible decarbonization plans, arguing that simply divesting carbon-intensive companies will do little to stop exploration for new fossil fuels.

Still, critics say the industry needs to move faster to ramp up investment in clean tech and reduce exposure to companies pursuing projects widely seen as incompatible with global climate goals.

https://www.businessgreen.com/news/4060575/money-matter-campaign-calls-street-banks-stop-financing-fossil-fuels Make My Money Matter: Campaign calls on high street banks to stop funding fossil fuels

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