Today I wanted to talk to you about a topic that is not discussed enough. The role of banks in the destruction of the environment and your role as a customer of these banks. Honestly, who among you thinks about your bank when we talk about eco-friendly practices? Do you know how your bank uses your money? And if so, is it in line with your values towards the planet? Being sustainable means respecting the planet in all aspects of our lives. In this article, I’ll explain why and how to switch to sustainable banking to have a positive impact on the environment and match your values.
This article mentions the current situation of French banks as an example, but this is the same all over the world. Therefore, the information we will see below about sustainable financing and ethical investments is equally relevant whether you live in France or not.
Why choosing a sustainable bank?
Our wallet: our best ally in the battle against global warming
Just like any other industry, the finance industry is evolving. Becoming an eco-friendly citizen, being careful about what we are buying, adopting a zero-waste lifestyle, becoming vegetarian or vegan, all these things are essential. But what is happening with our money?
We keep saying that the most powerful weapon in the fight against global warming is our wallet. Our purchases determine who we are and what impact we want to have on the planet. No one forces us to buy a piece of clothing from a major brand that not only has zero ethics towards its employees around the world, but also massively contributes to the pollution of our environment. No one forces us to buy this piece of clothing rather than a second hand piece or one from an ethical brand.
The same goes for the bank we choose to invest our money in. A classic bank, which is likely supporting the fossil fuel industry, or a responsible bank, which supports projects in favour of the environment?
Conventional banks: their carbon footprint continues to rise.
While global warming and the urgency to take action has been at the center of conversations for years (if not decades), carbon dioxide emissions and the carbon footprint of French banks have been rising for several years.
In Germany, $11.758 trillion was invested in atomic weapons by banks in 2019. (Source: https://www.tomorrow.one/en-EU/impact/)
What does it mean to be a customer of one of these banks? It means that your money is used for investments in highly polluting projects. In other words, on the one hand you are careful about your impact on the environment and this is something that is important to you. On the other hand, your bank is using your money to literally destroy our planet.
Does this get under your skin? Welcome to the club! That’s why, for over a year now, Oliver has been trying to find a sustainable bank that suits us. A bank that meets our sustainable banking goals but also our expectations from a financial point of view.
Choose a sustainable bank
To find a sustainable bank is not an easy thing to do, but I don’t think it requires any more investment than when you simply want to change banks.
First, research the sustainable banks that exist. We rarely hear about them but there are more than you think. For this, the Internet will be your best friend. But also talk to your friends and family about it. Some of them may have already done this and will be able to share the results of their research and advise you. And if not, you’ll awaken their attention to this subject, which is also a good thing.
Here is a list of websites that can already give you a first idea on the existing sustainable banks:
Once you have an idea of the banks that could meet your needs and match your ethical and environmental values, follow their actions. To do this, I recommend that you follow them on social networks like LinkedIn for example. This way you can see what they offer and keep an eye on their commitments before you decide.
Our choice of ethical bank: Tomorrow
Also, take a look at sustainable banks in other countries. This is for example our case. We chose to try the German sustainable banking startup Tomorrow because their commitments meet our expectations the best.
One of the criteria that convinced us was the fact that with each payment made with our card we protect several square meters of rainforest. Our money is invested in social or sustainable bonds, or in projects in favour of the protection of the environment. Finally, we like the interface of their app. It gives us the possibility to follow in detail all the actions generated by our money. I also talk about it in this article.
Other ethical banking options
As an eco-friendly person, I find it really frustrating to think that we are saving our money to be used for purposes that are completely destructive to the planet and its people. When it could be just the opposite.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the options available to us when it comes to sustainable banking. However, it is not only banks that can meet our expectations. I also invite you to look at other options for green financial investments. Indeed, your money does not have to stay in your bank account. You can use it through ethical and ecological financial investment funds that match your needs. Or you can also take a look at crowfunding platforms or impact investing. A little research will be required, as with everything, but your positive impact on the environment will be even more important.
I hope this article helps you get a first look at the impact banks have on the planet and see what your options are. Feel free to share this article to make as many people as possible aware of this issue and leave us a comment on what you thought of it 🍃