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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 4th Jun 19, 2:35 PM
    • 194Posts
    • 84Thanks
    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I switch to a greener bank?
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 19, 2:35 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I switch to a greener bank? 4th Jun 19 at 2:35 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    I'm concerned about climate change, and recently found out my savings are with a bank which invests in the fossil fuel industry. Should I pick a more environmentally-friendly bank, even if it means I earn less interest?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!

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Page 1
    • Nonnadiluca
    • By Nonnadiluca 4th Jun 19, 5:40 PM
    • 241 Posts
    • 2,417 Thanks
    Nonnadiluca
    • #2
    • 4th Jun 19, 5:40 PM
    • #2
    • 4th Jun 19, 5:40 PM
    Once you know what your money is being used for, you can't unknow it. I moved mine at the beginning of the year when I realised.
    • gsmlnx
    • By gsmlnx 4th Jun 19, 8:03 PM
    • 1,593 Posts
    • 1,166 Thanks
    gsmlnx
    • #3
    • 4th Jun 19, 8:03 PM
    • #3
    • 4th Jun 19, 8:03 PM
    You should pick a bank on whether it is well ran and will be here in 50 years time. And does it provide the services you require when you require them.
    I always have doubts about organisations that claim something special like Climate awareness or anti tobacco stances (just 2 examples). Take any claim with a big pinch of salt.
    If they avoid some specific areas then where do they lend money out? To drugs cartels or weapons manufacturers? Or oppressive regimes around the world? The list goes on.
    You might just swap to a bank which does worse things with your deposits.
    • archie1411
    • By archie1411 4th Jun 19, 9:16 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    archie1411
    • #4
    • 4th Jun 19, 9:16 PM
    • #4
    • 4th Jun 19, 9:16 PM
    Yes - stand by your principles.
    Next!
    • staggered
    • By staggered 4th Jun 19, 9:28 PM
    • 278 Posts
    • 355 Thanks
    staggered
    • #5
    • 4th Jun 19, 9:28 PM
    • #5
    • 4th Jun 19, 9:28 PM
    I'm sure they're not perfect but, as a rule of thumb, building societies are considered more "ethical" than banks.
    • nigel_guisborough
    • By nigel_guisborough 4th Jun 19, 10:26 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    nigel_guisborough
    • #6
    • 4th Jun 19, 10:26 PM
    • #6
    • 4th Jun 19, 10:26 PM
    I agree about Building Societies. For full banking services what about the Co-op? We've been happy since switching and they are definitely ethical - go to the Co-operativebank website and take a look at Values and Ethics under "Who we are "
    • REJP
    • By REJP 4th Jun 19, 10:27 PM
    • 97 Posts
    • 100 Thanks
    REJP
    • #7
    • 4th Jun 19, 10:27 PM
    • #7
    • 4th Jun 19, 10:27 PM
    I recycle stuff, walk to places if I can, take the bus or train the 10 miles to town if I have to. So if my bank offers me a decent interest rate on my savings, I suggest I have already tried to reduce my carbon footprint by using services which will run if I don't use them.
    How sure are you that your proposed bank is going to reduce climate change? Presumably they use electricity for tills etc, do they have solar panels for daytime use? Do their staff walk to work, or use the car?
    Where is this a dilemma?
    • Sane Jane
    • By Sane Jane 4th Jun 19, 10:40 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Sane Jane
    • #8
    • 4th Jun 19, 10:40 PM
    Co-op bank
    • #8
    • 4th Jun 19, 10:40 PM
    Thing is, incompetence is never ethical.
    • anotheruser
    • By anotheruser 5th Jun 19, 6:00 AM
    • 2,729 Posts
    • 1,578 Thanks
    anotheruser
    • #9
    • 5th Jun 19, 6:00 AM
    • #9
    • 5th Jun 19, 6:00 AM
    What's your priority?

    Your care for the environment or a token payment every month?

    When you answer that, you have answered your question.
    • MC Miker G
    • By MC Miker G 5th Jun 19, 7:19 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    MC Miker G
    Greener bank
    Definitely. Triodos have recently started a UK current account; their ethical credentials are well-nigh impeccable, and they've been running since 1980, so they're an established player.

    Check out Ethical Consumer magazine (and website) for much more info on these sort of questions.
    • Surfer
    • By Surfer 5th Jun 19, 7:55 AM
    • 344 Posts
    • 82 Thanks
    Surfer
    I would invest where I get the best interest rate and not bothered by banks that claim to be green as mostly what they profess to do is a lot of hogwash to con the consumer. For example, I bet the bank manager drives a car that runs on fossil fuel as do most of the staff.
    • TessaC
    • By TessaC 5th Jun 19, 8:00 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    TessaC
    For sure, I just switched to Triodos for my savings and will be switching my current account soon too. Whoever above mentioned you should be more interested in if it is still going to be around in 50 years time- at the current rate a habitable planet wont be around in 50 years time, so its a bit of a moot point. Companies listen to their consumers, thats how they make their money, so switching to green/ethical is going to send them all a message. ethicalconsumer.org is a fab site for choosing which companies to use, it looks at all their impacts; green, workers, investments etc so you wont have to worry that you are merely shifting your impact somewhere else. The people who say its hogwash can have fun telling their grandkids why they live in a burning hell hole when they are adults!
    • SNOWIE
    • By SNOWIE 5th Jun 19, 8:11 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    SNOWIE
    no, green/renewables are all a scam simply to make some people very wealthy and we all have to pay for it
    • billbristol
    • By billbristol 5th Jun 19, 9:32 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    billbristol
    yes - consumer power
    Where money is invested and who it is lent to is an important part of consumer power. As someone above has said, it's a question of what you can and can't live with - knowing that your money is being used for bed ends.

    Divestment from fossil fuels is part of the bigger picture of moving to a sustainable world, and it pains me that my Teachers Pension money is probably invested unethically.
    • Cadgfly
    • By Cadgfly 5th Jun 19, 9:56 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Cadgfly
    Hogwash Responses
    Absolute hogwash being posted here.

    Trying to equate the car usage of a bank manager, and the number of electric tills per branch, against the history-shaping power of a banking loans of billions upon billions to fossil fuel companies, is at best daft and at worst active obfuscating stupidity.

    Of course you should change banks if you are concerned about what is done with your money. All banks have their ethical credentials checked and verified. Same goes for Building Socieities, investment funds and any other financial institution or product, as all places the money goes needs a trail. If you don't want to help fund fracking, oil exploration etc, you can and should do so.

    To say it's a) not real and green funds/banks is real or fake or a scam, is wrong and should be ignored. To say b) no banks do this really and they use so much energy/fuel as to make it irrelevant where they invest your money, is so daft it hardly bears scrutiny.

    Take 5mins to investigate the ethical rankings of banks and you'll get some clear options, and very simple methods to switch your accounts.
    • 1961Nick
    • By 1961Nick 5th Jun 19, 10:23 AM
    • 600 Posts
    • 2,728 Thanks
    1961Nick
    With respect to previous posters, I'd suggest that the primary concern should be that your money is invested safely, and secondly that you understand the risks associated with the investment you are undertaking.
    4kWp (black/black) - Sofar Inverter - SSE(141°) - 30° pitch - North Lincs
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    • paulharding150
    • By paulharding150 5th Jun 19, 10:55 AM
    • 116 Posts
    • 102 Thanks
    paulharding150
    Sure they are. All a scam.
    You have no idea how far back my eyes have just rolled.
    The campaign against overpowering signatures
    • theosmum
    • By theosmum 5th Jun 19, 12:07 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    theosmum
    Yes!
    I have been with the Co-Op bank for decades, purely because of their ethical stance. I'm sure they aren't perfect - who is? - but for many many years they have done their best to avoid being involved in as many unethical practices and investments as possible. In 30+ years I have never had a problem with their banking services, and they are friendly and knowledgeable over the phone if I have contacted them with a query. And no, I don't work for them or am on commission!
    • MaureenMcK
    • By MaureenMcK 5th Jun 19, 5:24 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    MaureenMcK
    Absolutely you should - otherwise you are complicit. Martyn's tips are great, but other things than financial value are more important. The firms that provide great service to customers may well be more morally suspect than one that scores less well. We must research where we are putting our money. I only ever invest ethically, with the help of an Ethical Investor adviser. I encourage you to please do the same.
    • crmism
    • By crmism 5th Jun 19, 7:28 PM
    • 159 Posts
    • 88 Thanks
    crmism
    While I understand your concern, I think it would be advisable to write to your bank and ask why it has invested in a company which you personally look upon as unethical, as there might be a valid reason it has done so.

    A few institutional investors maintain stakes in businesses where ethics are in question, often to use their vote to persuade the boards to change their thinking and move towards greener projects. Don't hold your breath, though, as most fund managers are driven entirely by year-end performance and their annual bonuses, sacrificing ethics for growth no matter what the cost to the planet.

    The good thing is that you have the power and choice to do as you please with your own money and, with interest rates as low as they are, you're unlikely to lose much by switching to another bank.
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