Tracking and Ditching Fossil Banks

The burning of fossil fuels is the key driver of climate breakdown. Scientists agree that coal, oil, and gas need to be kept in the ground for us to have a fighting chance to reach our climate targets. While renewable energy is already cheaper than coal in all major markets – and can meet global energy demand many times over – banks continue to recklessly finance the industry that is killing millions today and is destroying our future.

The Banking on Climate Chaos report, released this year by a coalition of NGOs – including BankTrack – shows that the world’s 60 biggest banks spent 3.8 trillion dollars financing fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement.

This includes Dutch banks such as Rabobank and ING, which spent over 8 and 44 billion dollars each. ABN AMRO is not without sin, having engaged in a number of “Dodgy Deals” as well, harming society and the environment.

Against this sobering background, we were delighted to have Johan Frijns, the director of BankTrack, share his insights about and experience with the banking sector. BankTrack is an international tracking and campaigning organisation targeting private sector commercial banks and the activities they finance. Their mission is to stop banks from financing harmful business activities; to promote a banking sector that respects human rights; and to support fellow civil society organisations in their engagement with banks.

BankTrack continuously assesses bank policies on corporate social responsibility and campaigns on several issues, such as climate and energy, human rights and deforestation. It’s flagship campaign Fossil Banks, No Thanks! demands from the largest bank financiers of fossil fuels to end their support for new or expansion coal, oil and gas projects and to phase out existing support for the fossil fuel industry.

After a talk of about 45 minutes by Johan, we had another 45 minutes of questions and answers. You can watch the insightful talk and wide-ranging conversation here.

BackTrack YouTube recording

We paired this event with a little campaign to switch to a sustainable bank such as Triodos Bank or ASN Bank. This was both fun and easy, using their switching service. If you are not with a sustainable bank yet, switching to one has never been easier and more important than today!

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