Updated: Jan 30
I’m embarrassed to admit how recently I realised what a huge environmental impact your bank can have on the world. We hear constantly about how reusable coffee cups are important and how necessary it is to remember your reusable bag when going to the supermarket, but it had never even occurred to me that I should take a much closer look at where my bank is investing my money and whether that aligns with my morals.
I got my first bank account when I was about twelve or thirteen. My dad took all of the pennies and birthday money that my brother and I had saved and put both of our money into one pot, much to our outcry and horror. He then divided this pot of money into two and walked us into a high street bank to open us both our up with our first savings account. This, in hindsight, was a wonderful thing for us and we became obsessed with saving from that point on. I loved seeing the figure slightly increase every time I put money in, and it felt ever so grown up to ask a parent to ‘please take me to the bank so I can deposit some money.’ My parents had never questioned what that bank had done with my deposits and neither had I. As far as I was concerned, my money was kept in the bank in a Gringotts style fashion* just waiting for me to come and collect it.
Years later, I actually saw the facts. I love Ethical Magazine and everything they do and they have a wonderful page that talks about where the major banks are investing their money, and this below diagram is something I found after visiting their page:
It's a diagram from The Fossil Fuel Finance Report 2020, which lists the banks that invest the most in fossil fuels. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the figures! All of that money being invested in something I didn’t believe in and some of the banks had investments in incredibly damaging methods like ultra-deep sea drilling and tar sands. Soon, investments in fracking and nuclear weapons, tax avoidance and excessive pay for the directors were all things that Lucy and I started discussing. We got a lot of information from the Ethical Consumer website, which links to reports and data that was incredibly useful (you can find a link at the bottom of the page). We felt disheartened, until we realised what power we had in switching banks and deciding to put our money where our morals were. And that is exactly we why have decided to put our company’s money into a bank that we believe in.
This isn’t an advert or plug. There were a few banks that we were considering, but Triodos won our hearts because it is pioneering the way forward with an ethical approach to banking. It seriously invests in renewable energy sources, it has a good rating for paying its taxes, won the Customer Service Champion award at the 2020 British Bank Awards and it creates annual reports so you can physically see how much money it makes and where that money goes. This was all music to our ears! We could see our money making a difference in the world, instead of causing destruction and damage. There is actually a feature on the app where you can zoom in to different places in the UK and see where the money is being invested - we were really happy to see money being invested into a company close to where we grew up.
Wherever you decide to keep your money, it is good to know how much power you have in that choice. We were able to cast a vote for what we believed in by changing our bank to something greener. It takes a bit of research and time, but ultimately is something that we can do as an individual and potentially make a huge difference overall.
*Sorry for the Harry Potter reference, once a fan always a fan.
Link to the Fossil Fuel Finance Report 2020:
Link to Ethical Consumer: