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How to make your banking more ethical

The COP26 conference kicked off last November in Glasgow, bringing together delegates and heads of state from 200 nations. The conference is run by the UN, and aimed to bring together nations to negotiate on solving the challenges of the climate crisis.

As the COP26 conference has shown, it’s more important than ever that consumers (and corporations!) start taking tangible steps to reduce their climate impact – and one way that you can do that is with your banking choices.

What kind of impact do banks have?

Besides just holding your money, banks are also investors – and not necessarily good investors by ESG standards. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world’s biggest 60 banks have provided over $3.8tn of financing for fossil fuel companies. In Europe, UK bank Barclays has invested the most money, leading activist groups to protest outside the chain across the country.

Your first step to ethical banking is getting knowledgeable about where your current bank stands. The tool allows you to quickly look up your bank to see if they’re putting money in fossil fuels, and also provides a comparison of ethical bank options available in your country. Get sustainable and get knowledgeable!

Chanelle Pattinson, a financial advisor, suggests defining what’s important to you for a bank – be it app usability, charges, and payment possibilities – and then choosing a more ethical option based on that. If your ethical bank account also has a cash deposit limit and you’re expecting a large lump sum, you could also keep a high street bank account open for more limited usage.

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