Green Banking

Sophie Cowen
Environmental Campaigner and Founder of Switch It Green

For polluting companies to continue operating, they require loans, investments, and underwriting services from financial providers. As an industry renowned for its record-breaking profits, most financial providers are keen to continue pumping money into fossil fuel companies to generate large returns.

The Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) is an industry-led initiative requiring signatories to align their practices (including lending and investment activities) with ‘Net Zero’ emissions by 2050.

However, there is no requirement for banks within the NZBA to phase out their fossil fuel investments (’Net Zero’ isn’t zero after all). The NZBA has become an opportunity for the financial sector to mislead the public in a mass greenwashing effort while fuelling the injustices which come hand-in-hand with fossil fuel extraction projects.

Any new investment in oil, gas, or coal will breach 1.5-degree targets. Financial providers must transform their investment policies to be in line with a more liveable future for all.

Financial institutions don’t want to lose customers. On the contrary, banks often rely on their customer numbers to demonstrate their market stability and secure the loans and assets which enable their own continued investments.

Green banking is the practice of moving support away from the financial providers funneling money into climate breakdown. At scale, people moving their money out of fossil fuel support will force the financial sector to improve its investment policies. Without financial support, the fossil fuel industry will be forced to rapidly shift its practices in line with the renewable transition.

Green Banking Pamela EA Climate Words

Wind farm on the Isle of Lewis, representing the rapid growth of wind power, the fastest-growing renewable energy technology in Scotland, and a prominent aspect of the emerging trend in green banking—focused on investing in sustainable energy sources. Isle of Lewis, Scotland, 2023.
Photography By Pamela EA