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Fossil Free Banking Alliance to Help Conscious Consumers Put Their Money Where Their Mouths Are

Bank.Green’s new Alliance, made up of 8 founding members, aims to fuel the global movement towards a more sustainable and climate-resilient financial sector.

Today, sustainable banking campaign group Bank.Green launched its latest initiative, the Fossil Free Banking Alliance — a fossil-free-certified group of banking institutions that will help make it easier for climate-conscious individuals to move their money away from banks that continue to finance the fossil fuel industry.

The initiative represents a growing group of financial institutions from around the world that do not — and will not — finance fossil fuel companies or projects. Before the Fossil Free Banking Alliance, there was no easy way to establish which retail banks refuse to finance fossil fuels. Now, Bank.Green has established a free, independent verification process that any bank can embark upon. Successful applicants become Fossil Free Certified and join the alliance.

“There are a lot of fossil-free banks out there that don’t have a way of shouting about it yet,” adds Zak Gottlieb, director and co-founder of Bank.Green. “Fossil Free Certification is the simplest way to signal to customers, professionals in the banking sector, and the general public that a sustainability-conscious financial institution is putting its money where its mouth is.”

While more and more banks have begun to mobilize around climate change and have made individual net-zero pledges, their continued investment in polluting sources of energy flies in the face of those pledges — and external pressure has continued to mount for them to put their money where their mouths are. December saw a promising move from British banking giant HSBC, which set out a detailed policy to phase out its financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2030 in EU and OECD markets, and worldwide by 2040. Given HSBC’s substantial footprint across Asia, with the region’s heavy reliance on coal today and its rapidly growing energy demand, this could be an impactful move — given the critical role HSBC can play in helping to finance the region’s energy transition from coal to clean.

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Hear more from Jonah Berger as he explores what sustainability and marketing professionals can learn from sociology and psychology to encourage consumers to adopt sustainable behaviors — June 8 at Brand-Led Culture Change.

But the grandaddy of all investors, BlackRock, continues to hedge its bets on forgoing financing for fossil fuel companies — in his annual CEO letter last month, Larry Fink expounded on the need to decarbonize the economy, but not on immediate divestment from the sector.

In the meantime, individual investors and banking customers can now easily move their money into banks whose practices align with their values. They can check their bank’s track record with Bank.Green’s bank-checking tool, or feel confident they’re not continuing to fund the climate crisis with any of the founding members of the Fossil Free Banking Alliance. It currently comprises eight banks — six US-based institutions: Ando, Beneficial State Bank, Clean Energy Credit Union, Climate First Bank, Self-Help Credit Union and Virginia Community Capital; as well as Green Got and Helios (France).

Members of the alliance join a like-minded finance community, which aims to fuel (pun intended) the global movement towards a sustainable and humane financial sector. Furthermore, Fossil Free Certification helps banks to proudly broadcast their values and increase visibility to climate-conscious customers, job-hunters and data-driven consumer platforms.

Bank.Green has been guiding money out of fossil fuels since April 2021. Via its advocacy campaigns and online resources, it continues to raise awareness of big finance’s role in fueling, or averting, catastrophic climate change. The Fossil Free Banking Alliance is a practical solution.

“For too long, traditional banks funneled trillions of dollars into the fossil fuel industry without sharing that information with their customers,” says Ando CEO, J.P. McNeill. “We encourage others in the industry to do the right thing and join us in being proudly Fossil Free Certified.”

Read more about the Fossil Free Banking Alliance at bank.green/certification.

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