When you think about living in a more sustainable way, you are likely to begin by looking at those things that are closest to home – food production, energy, recycling. You’ll likely look at how you get around, and, of course, at what you choose to buy (or to avoid buying).
Often, however, people trying to live in a climate-conscious and eco-friendly way forget about one other thing that is an important aspect in most of our lives (whether we like it or not): money. Where you bank and who you bank with, and other financial dealings, can play a much larger role than you might think in determining your impact.
We should all ask ourselves not only what we ourselves are doing to combat climate change and further sustainable progress, but also what those handling our money are doing with the funds we entrust to them.
One of the key questions for COP26 is whether we can get the commitments we need to finance the ‘race to net zero’, and meet the environmental targets we so urgently need to meet.
Our societies need to halve CO2 emissions by 2030 and continue toward zero by 2050. The COP26 Presidency, Mark Carney’s COP26 Private Finance Hub and the High Level Climate Action Champions are calling for private financial institutions to announce new ambitious actions at COP26.
In the UK alone, the Climate Change Committee estimated that there needs to be a five fold increase in extra net zero investment from c. £10bn per year in 2020 to around £50bn in 2030 before peaking in 2035. Financial institutions need to step up and make serious commitments, and of course, follow through on those commitments.
But in addition to asking financial institutions to play their part, we as individuals should also think very carefully about whether our money is working for the planet, or against it. Who we bank with and where we place our money can make a big difference.