22 April 2022 is Earth Day. Part of our calling as Christians is to care for creation – but as we look at the climate crisis and environmental devastation across the globe, it is clear we are not doing a very good job.
At the same time, ECCR helps Christians to connect their faith with the way we think about and use money. Jesus spoke about money and wealth more than almost any other topic. As we consider how we might better care for God’s creation, we can connect this to the way we use money, including where we bank.
The banking system underpins the global economy. Banks make loans and investments, and the way this money is used has consequences. Our current system doesn’t enable care for creation. Many banks provide finance to companies that cause harm to the environment. The world’s biggest banks have provided trillions of pounds of finance to the oil and gas industry in recent years, fuelling the climate crisis.
We may feel there is little we can do in the face of such a powerful, complex system, where sums of money we can scarcely comprehend are moved around the world at the touch of a button. But the system is a human system that can change.
Imagine if every Christian chose to bank ethically and campaigned for a fairer, greener financial system – what a difference that would make!
This #EarthDay ECCR is partnering with the Big Give’s #GreenMatchFund to raise funds for our campaigning on green banking. Big Give will match every donation given up to £2500 from today until 29 April! Could you make a donation towards this work?
Here are some practical examples of how you can learn more and take action to make banking greener:
Banks fuelling the climate crisis: Banks continued to pour billions into fossil fuels in 2021, according to a new Banking on Climate Chaos report. Only 5 out of the world’s 60 largest banks had restrictions on financing oil and gas expansion.
Learn: Are you with a big bank like HSBC, Barclays or NatWest? Use this interactive tool to explore who and what they are financing.
Act: What do you know about your bank and its impact on the climate crisis? Read our short guide to fairer, greener banking. Take a step to engage with your bank or switch your money.
Banking and ‘greenwash’: New research from Share Action shows that big banks are still funding new oil and gas despite net zero pledges. Barclays and HSBC have both committed to align with net-zero by 2050 but provide finance to companies like Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP.
Act: Contact Barclays and/or HSBC and ask them to stop funding oil and gas expansion. Bank.Green has some helpful tips on talking to your bank about climate issues.
Saving for the future: Building societies and credit unions are a great option if you are looking for a greener savings account. They are owned by and run for their members and are unlikely to be investing in fossil fuels.
Learn: Read this story to see how Ecology Building Society uses members’ savings to support sustainable housing. Which building societies or credit unions operate in your community?
Act: Could you help educate others about greener banking options? Put our introduction to ethical banking in your next church newsletter.