Is your hard-earned cash funding fossil fuel development?
Large US banks are investing in fossil fuel projects. Find out if your bank is one of them and what you can do about it.
By GREENPORTFOLIO TEAM
January 26, 2021
Any time you leave your cash sitting in a bank account, it doesn’t just sit there idly. The bank holding it for you puts it to work. It takes your cash and lends it to a wide variety of companies, businesses, and projects. Our economy is fueled by your capital – jobs are created and infrastructure is improved because of this lending system. However, you may not want your cash funding all types of projects. Many people would prefer their deposits not be used for things like manufacturing guns, funding private prisons, or expanding fossil fuels. While it can be hard to determine where your deposits are being placed, there are ways to find out – especially when it comes to fossil fuels.
What kinds of fossil fuel projects are being funded?
Every year, the Rainforest Action Network works with BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance, and the Sierra Club to record which banks are providing funding to a variety of fossil fuel industries. They keep track of financing completed for oil extraction from tar sands, the arctic, fracked oil and gas, offshore oil and gas, coal mining, and coal power plants. To do this, they follow over 2,100 companies to see which banks and investors are financing their projects every year.
Despite the fact that the risks of climate change have received more attention and focus, funding for fossil fuels has increased annually, with fossil fuel financing totaling $736 billion in 2019.
This steady increase in fossil fuel financing reinforces the need for individuals to be aware of how their chosen banking institutions are behaving. People must research beyond the bank’s marketing claims and corporate sustainability statement so that they can make well-informed choices. GreenPortfolio is here to help by performing the research for you.
Which banks are funding the most fossil fuel projects?
American banks are the world leaders in funding fossil fuels, claiming the top four spots on the list in 2019. You can check out the report for yourself here.
If you’re a Chase customer, you should really take a look at this report as Chase in particular is found to be one of the worst offenders. The report states that “JPMorgan Chase is by far the world’s worst banker of climate chaos,” after reviewing the bank's policies and actions. Make sure your bank isn’t on the list, but also take a minute to learn how a handful of players are facilitating the most fossil fuel expansion worldwide.
What should you do if your bank is on the list?
Take a minute to review some of the banking options that we recommend. The banks we have listed do not fund fossil fuel projects, and instead, actively support renewable energy generation. If you close your account at your previous bank, consider taking a few moments to let them know why you are no longer banking with them. It’s important that your former bank understand that you care about how your money is used while it’s in their care. Explain that you want your deposits used in an ethical manner that works to slow climate change, not to accelerate it. It may seem like your one account doesn’t make a difference, but individual actions do add up, especially when they are used to finance a cleaner green future.
Disclaimer: GreenPortfolio aims to keep all information on the site current and accurate. However, when you may find differences between information listed here and information listed on a financial product provider’s website. Opinions expressed here are not those of any bank, credit card issuer or financial institution, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please complete your own due diligence before making any financial decisions.