Switch from fossil fuels! Divest your bank and energy supplier
1. Switch energy provider and fund renewables, not fossil fuels
Would you like the money you pay each month for your energy bill to help fund new renewables in the UK rather than burning fossil fuels? Luckily it's easy to switch.
Here is a website for comparing and switching energy supplier focused on green energy companies: theswitch
and here you can find a full list of UK energy suppliers ranked according to their commitment to green energy which includes 18 companies who supply 100% green energy: electricityinfo
2. Move your money out of fossil fuels
Once we put money in our bank accounts, we tend to think that it just sits there until we spend it. But in fact, your hard-earned cash can be invested anywhere in the world, and not necessarily in ways we would approve of.
From UK fracking sites to coal mines in Colombia, banks pursue profit at the expense of the climate. Three UK banks in particular, HSBC, Barclays and RBS, are among the banks which have invested in the company building the Dakota pipeline. HSBC, Barclays and Aviva have also invested in Kinder Morgan, which has just been granted permission by the Canadian government to build a massive tar sands pipeline - a disaster for the climate and potentially 'Canada's Standing Rock' because of strong opposition from indigenous peoples. Anyone can contact these banks to tell them to pull their money out of this shameful project, but the greatest impact will be if customers divest their own bank accounts.
Luckily, switching to a more ethical bank is easy! Check out some of the resources below on which banks are worth switching to (and away from) and then head over to Current Account Switch to get the process started quickly and easily.
There are more ethical banking alternatives available than ever, with some of the top choices coming from Building Societies and more radically sustainable alternatives such as Triodos's new Current Account, A few of the top options as of 2020 are listed below.
Full Service Banks (current and savings accounts)
Don't forget! Write to your old bank letting them know why you are switching. Click here and scroll about half way down the page for a template letter.
Big Bad Banks with assets in coal, oil and gas extraction
Top investment banks provide billions to expand fossil fuel industries.
(research by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, the Sierra Club, and Oil Change International in their latest (2019) report Banking on Climate Change):
Three UK banks feature in the list of the 33 worst offenders worldwide for total fossil fuel financing 2016 - 2018:
Barclays - 2016 $30.5 billion; 2017 $29.9 billion; 2018 $24.7 billion
Barclays is one of the companies that offers multi-billion dollar lines of credit to TransCanada, the company building the Keystone XL pipeline; they also fund Kinder Morgan, who are attempting to triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline that transports tar sands oil in Canada. Overall, they are one of the top investors in oil mining amongst banks.
HSBC - 2016 $17.5 billion; 2017 21.6 billion; 2018 $18.8 billion
In April 2018 HSBC announced that they are moving their investments out of tar sands projects, but they still have a large number of other environmentally harmful investments.
RBS/NatWest - 2016 $3.7 billion; $662 million; 2018 zero
The Royal Bank of Scotland, of which NatWest is a subsidiary, has significantly reduced its investments into the coal and oil industries, with their overall financiing of the top 1,800 companies worldwide across the fossil fuel life cycle reduced from over $3 billion in 2016 to zero in 2018,
Make Your Voice Heard
Make sure to tell your bank (or ex-bank) what you think of their climate-wrecking investments. Even if you are not a customer of a particular bank, you can still help put pressure on, for example through the email actions below or on their Facebook page.
You can also tweet at your bank using the Rainforest Action Network's Banking on Climate Change website to show your stance on their investments into fossil fuels.
3. Campaign for divestment by pensions and other fund-holders
Done all that? Great. Unfortunately, if you have a pension, that is probably still invested in fossil fuels. Achieving divestment there is a more complex process, but one worth campaigning for - this article in the Guardian is a good place to get you started.
And if you want to go further, find local campaigns at gofossilfree.org