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Green Banking: Where you put your money matters!

What I love about going green is changing. Change is great, it is what is required to fight the climate emergency and reintroduce us to a planet caring society. Learning new things and finding out something you did not know and understanding how you can make a change to better the planet is incredibly exciting to me. On my journey to be a green and sustainable individual I have learnt about how banks can be evil (not much of a surprise in the big corporate world run by the few) and how this has a big impact on our world. Now, I always knew banks look after themselves but naively thought they would still have some ethics. Unfortunately, they do not! Now I am taking the environment seriously and helping to protect and save the planet I am trying to change every aspect I can to achieve that. In this blog post I will go into how banks work, how they can be bad for the environment, what are green banks and what I have done and you can do to make a difference.

Urban Skyline
Urban Skyline

How do banks work?

Surely, banks just hold our money for us, there is no harm in that! Well unfortunately no, banks make money from interest they earn by lending out money (our money), usually to companies and large ventures. They use the millions of people’s money in their banks and lend this out, so they can make some of their own. They are able to make such large returns because they get to put a significantly larger interest rate on the money they lend out compared to what they give us for storing our money with them. This gives them a huge return from our money.

Online Banking on laptop in coffee shop
Online Banking

Are Banks Green?

Again, unfortunately no, typically a bank will lend our money to practically anyone, Including fossil fuel conglomerates, plastic manufactures to a wide range of harmeful companies. They are typically not concerned about creating greater harm than good as long as they believe these companies can make a good return and pay them back with interest of course. I shouldn’t have to say how this will obviously lead to your money directly funding the killing of our planet and its inhabitance. This is why we need to ask the question when storing our money with a bank; who, what and where will they lend your money? You should also be careful of greenwashing where banks might make their products seem enviornmentally considerate when in fact they are not. You need to decide if you want your money to be used by the corrupt or not? If not, you might want to check your bank and perhaps move your money.

gren Roof on high rise building.
Green Roof

Are there Green Banks? 

Yes, although I think they are harder to find and are not typically on our highstreets and I would also say there is a spectrum to how environmentally considerate they are but there is definitely some. I would say your first point of call is to avoid banks that do the most harm, a bit of research will show you what banks are still backing the worst companies, so in my opinion get your money out of them and close your bank account down. I have seen banks such as Barclays, HSBC and NatWest to name a few that are advised to avoid if you have any considerations for ethics and the environment. As for a green bank there are certainly some, which again require a bit of research to see if a bank is green. I have seen articles stating Triodos, co-operative, Monzo and Starling to name a few that have better consideration for ethics and environments, so perhaps start there.

Close up of bank card
Bank Card

What to Look for? 

When looking into a bank you want to see what they invest in, where they put your money, and what their corporate responsibilities are like. You also want to look for banks that invest in eco-friendly and sustainable products, businesses and services but also have great corporate responsibilities (how they treat their employees and you). Ask questions like how do they take care of the environment, communities and  their customers. Also, look at the products you want to use from them. Especially when looking at investing look for terms such as ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) or SRI (Socially Responsible Investments) that typically indicate a more ethical collection of companies. It might be hard to find a wonder bank that is perfect in every way but there are certainly some that are better than others in terms of the environment and ethics. Aim to bank with these if you want to care for our planet and communities. 

A growing plant being held in two hand. Symbolising growth and care..

What have I done? 

Well the first thing I did when I found out about how my money was being used to invest in companies I did not agree with was to close down my bank account with the worst notoriety (for me it was Barclays). I then looked for a green banks that I could store my money in and use regularly and opened an account with them. It was a simple change and one that helps me on my journey to being a more eco-friendly, sustainable individual. 

A women thinking in nature by a lake with mountains in the background.
Thinking in Nature

I believe we tend not to think about things we do not see in our daily lives. Yet we have a much bigger impact on the planet than we think. This is especially true for our money, from the items we purchase to the places we hold it. Therefore, we need to transition all aspects of our life to those that are sustainable and better for our future. Remember that even if a bank looks green or sustainable they might not be, despite the friendly adverts they have (don't fall for greenwashing!). Always do your research and pick one that can meets your needs but also your own ethics. Also, let me know; What do you think about green banking? Have you researched your current account and see what they do with your money? Are you going to make the switch? 

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