Talk about banks and fossil fuels

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Unfortunately, there is a good chance your bank is supporting the climate crisis by using your money to pump a fortune into polluting fossil fuel projects. This applies to the money of your friends and family as well. As you wake up to the role the banks play in the unfolding climate emergency it is helpful to talk about this often unknown issue with people around you.

Money, however, is a very personal subject. Some people do not like to talk about it, especially with someone they do not know. Campaign groups such as the Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, and Reclaim Finance have been highlighting bank support for fossil fuels for years, but these groups cannot compete with the words of a loved one. This is where you come in! We humans are social creatures, shaped and influenced by the words and actions of the people around us. Especially those who we like the most. So in other words, you are a great messenger!

One of the best times to talk to your friends and family about banks and fossil fuels is when you are investigating your own, for example through a tool such as Bank.Green, and considering your options. It will make it more natural to bring up in conversation with family and friends, so you just need to be bold and describe your motivations! This action might be a bit uncomfortable at first, but the positive outcomes could be enormous as we collectively move our money to more ethical institutions.


• An easy first step is to share the Bank.Green tool so friends and family can check their bank and see if they fund polluters. It is a simple and self-explanatory tool for people to use.

They also have some useful tips on talking about the issue with others. Here is a summary of the key points:

o Do not tell people what to do. Nobody enjoys being told what to do and it often does not work. Explain your feelings and decisions, then make yourself available to answer questions.

o Do not become judgemental. Everybody has their own motivations, especially when it comes to money. If you deliver your opinions in a neutral, open way, you will probably discover that your message will slowly get through in the following weeks or months. It is natural to take time for people to improve their thinking. It rarely happens instantly on the spot.

o Be positive. Focus on the good that socially responsible banks can achieve, or how our world would be if more of our money was invested in improving the planet around us.

o Try to find common ground, which should be easier when you are talking to a friend or a family member.

o Share your story. Explain the personal journey you have been on with these issues. We all respond to stories because they help us to make sense of the world we live in.

o Explain that switching bank accounts is not complicated. Just like most other administrative tasks, it may take a few hours and you will need to make a few decisions. Opening an account or credit card at a new ethical bank is a good starting point and then you can slowly phase out your old polluting bank.

o Listen. If you concentrate on listening, the quality of your conversation will improve. You will have a better understanding of where your friend or family member is coming from, which will probably lead to better outcomes.

• Some people will never get it or care. That is normal. Focus on those that want to help create a better world. There are enough of us to make a big difference over time.

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