'Don’t be a fossil fool'

| 13th March 2020
Coins and seedlings
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Climate-conscious consumers could be unknowingly investing £16 billion in fossil fuels through their ISAs.

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Europe’s leading ethical and sustainable bank, Triodos Bank, is today launching a new UK campaign for ISA season, called ‘Don’t be a fossil fool’, encouraging and enabling people to shift their money away from fossil fuels.

Nearly two thirds (63 percent) of Brits now agree that their money needs to be moved away from fossil fuels and invested in clean energy instead, Triodos’ new survey of over 2,000 consumers reveals. 

A similar majority (61 percent) acknowledges that fossil fuels are undoubtedly damaging the planet, and four in 10 (41 percent) believe having any money invested in the fossil fuel industry is morally wrong.

Investment 

Triodos’ call for people to switch their accounts and move their money away from fossil fuels comes with a stark warning against joining the growing number of ISA ‘fossil fools’.

Thousands of Brits are unknowingly investing their money into ISAs that support the fossil fuel industry (as much as £16 billion could be supporting fossil fuels through British stocks and shares ISAs). 

Part of the problem is a chronic lack of transparency. The research reveals that two thirds of Brits (65 percent) admit to having no idea if their money or savings currently go towards supporting the climate-damaging fuels, such as oil, gas or coal.

Seven in 10 (70 percent) Brits say that banks and savings providers need to be more transparent about where their money is invested.

Emergency

CEO of Triodos Bank UK, Bevis Watts, said: “The UK’s banks should be using the money saved or invested with them to protect the long-term interests of their customers in creating a sustainable future.

"They’re making fossil fools out of customers, by using their savings to fund fossil fuel projects that are harming everyone’s future, and banks should be pressuring energy companies to change faster. This is all in spite of a clear climate emergency and a growing divestment movement across the world calling for action.

“There is a strong demand for much greater transparency over where banks invest their money, enabling customers to make informed choices. As you can see from the findings, the majority of people don’t want any of their money to support fossil fuels; so let’s give them the opportunity to act on this, and give them options for ISA savings and investments that combat the climate crisis, while also helping them put money aside for the future.”

In line with the call for change, half of Brits (50 percent) want to take action with their money, saying they do not want their own money to support the fossil fuel industry in any way, and 37 percent would switch to a bank that guarantees it will not support the industry.

Divestment 

The call for divestment - putting pressure on companies that support the extraction of fossil fuels to invest in renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels - is gaining momentum.

Half (48 percent) are seeing the new divestment movement as a positive step, as more and more pension funds and other organisations move their money away from oil, gas and coal.

However, the research also shows a misunderstanding of the biggest contributors to climate change amongst Brits. Single use plastic scored highest (64 percent) despite not having the biggest impact on climate change. Conversely, avoiding fossil fuels (which is the most damaging industry to our climate) scored much lower (34 percent).

Dr Alexandra Jellicoe, public and environmental health scientist, said: “The fossil fuels industry is by far the most damaging to our global climate. Reducing our dependence on these polluting fuels is arguably the single most urgent challenge we face if we are to avoid a really unmanageable climate crisis in the next few decades.

"We all need to make sure our money isn’t supporting an industry that is harming our planet. Switching your bank or savings provider is an effective way to make a difference and reduce the flow of money towards oil, gas and coal projects.”

This Article 

This article is based on a press release from Triodos Bank. 

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