Banks can have a social purpose to address climate change but they need to step up the fight
Bevis Watts is managing director of Triodos Bank U.K., a sustainable bank
It has been a momentous year for environmental activism, with protest groups Extinction Rebellion and Youth Strike 4 Climate making their voices heard on the global stage and calling for real change to prevent climate catastrophe.
Another often overlooked but powerful form of democracy in placing action against climate change, however, is money.
From choosing a green energy supplier to eating less meat or boycotting products with unnecessary plastic packaging, consumers are increasingly thinking about how they can help alleviate the ills of climate change through their everyday spending habits.
The logical next step is to look at how they save their money and demand transparency about where their bank is lending and investing – but we are not there yet.
Recent research, commissioned by Triodos, found ethical finance is low down in many consumers’ list of priorities. Although Britain’s ethical finance market is now worth 19 billion pounds ($25 billion), only 9 percent of British savers consider it a priority – in sharp contrast to the 67 percent of savers who prioritise increasing recycling and reducing plastics use.
Even as awareness increases, consumer pressure alone will not be enough to tackle climate change. Banks need to step up the fight.
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Courtesy of Thomson Reuters Foundation.