Does my bank care about the planet too?
Updated: Nov 13
Looking to contribute to a sustainable future, but don’t know where to start? Investing your money in funds that lead to environmental and social benefits is one way you can make a difference. However, is it better for individuals to invest their own money in sustainable funds or should we leave the investing to the big banks?
According to the US popular media organization NPR, in 2019, 85% of individual investors showed that they’re more interested in sustainable investments. This increase is due to the growing interest among millennials, who are starting to ask themselves where their money is going and how can you align your money with your personal values...
Does this sound like a familiar question? In this article, we dive into how individuals can get started in sustainable investment and the impact (negative and positive) that banks have on sustainable finance.
Thinking of cutting banks out altogether? You could start investing in sustainable funds independently (without going to the bank). Doing it this way will ensure your investments meet your ethical values and you’ll know exactly where your money is going. While this route does require some financial knowledge, there are many classes you can take to learn more about this topic and brush . US business schools are starting to incorporate more of an ESG curriculum in their courses as many find it hard to ignore social and environmental factors in their business strategies. There are also free online courses that can teach more about sustainable finance.
What if you’re out of school or or you don’t have time to take an online course? Well, with robo investing (use of investing platforms), you can simply choose how much money you’d like to invest and the apps can help you pick your investments according to your risk preferences and manage your ethical plan.
So what’s the difference between individuals selecting sustainable investments and the banks offering sustainable investment products? For starters, (due to their colossal power), banks could potentially have a bigger impact on creating an environmentally conscious future with sustainable finance….
According to Euromoney, half of the largest banks in the world have made public sustainable finance commitments that totals $2.5 trillion. In addition to this, a third of the global banking industry are adhering to the Principles for Responsible Banking, a unique framework that ensures banks’ strategies align with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. With more money being poured into sustainable funds, real environmental change can occur. However, many leading bankers in the sustainable finance sector do not see change happening fast enough.
Even with banks committing to sustainable action, some still contribute money to environmentally damaging industries through different avenues. As revealed by research from WRI, banks allocated twice as much money towards fossil fuel commitments in comparison to their sustainable finance commitments from 2016 - 2018. One thing to note is that banks do not generally provide an overview of their annual fossil fuel financing and that each bank uses their own methodology for reporting. Even though there are some banks that prioritize their fossil fuel commitments over than sustainable ones, there were several banks from 2016 - 2018 that did ensure their sustainable finance targets were higher than their fossil fuel related ones.
At the end of the day, any action towards saving the planet is a step in the right direction. As Fiona Reynolds, director of Principle of Responsible Banking stated, “It is vital that investors continue using their influence to encourage the private and public sectors to take decisive action not just in Paris but throughout 2016.” So, how do you feel about starting to invest sustainably? Any questions or comments, feel free to join the discussions via our Instagram channel @thecaptureapp or say hi to the team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org