Like many people today, you know about the climate emergency. It may bother you sometimes, but you do your best. You avoid shopping at green cleaning companies, you think twice before flying, and you try to sort your waste as best you can, and that’s okay. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also said in its latest report that changes in behavior and lifestyle could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40-70% by 2050.
Yes, but here, despite all your good deeds, you could pollute, or rather finance fossil energy projects, through your bank and your savings.
In 2020, Oxfam reported that the carbon footprint of major French banks was “almost eight times the greenhouse gas emissions of France.” Thus, we are in a hurry to warm up by + 4 ° C by 2100. On this occasion, Global Citizen spoke with Oleksandr Poidatz, a financial and climate specialist at Oxfam, to learn more about the carbon footprint created by our banks.
To understand why banks are polluting, we need to go back to how banks work. Many people still do not know that their money, which will be deposited in their bank account, will be used to finance projects in favor of fossil fuels.
Mr Poidatz explains: “There are two different elements: a savings account that will actually be used for direct investment in a company, and a current account for which the mechanism is indirect, because from the moment we have money higher, we are involved in operating costs bank, which allows him to have financial resources for the loan. »
There are currently no regulations that set a strict framework within which banks can operate. At the European level, discussions are under way to create a “green” taxonomy that will allow the classification of economic activities to be determined to determine whether they can be considered “environmentally sustainable”.
In France, only Livret A and the sustainable development booklet are subject to regulations (or labels such as GreenFin), the rest depends more on the “goodwill of banks”. Without government regulation, if your bank offers you investment in sustainable development, be careful. warns Mr. Poidats.
Despite the lack of regulation, Global Citizens still has a few levers to assess the issuance of their money and show banks that we can no longer wait.
1- Use the Oxfam calculator.
In collaboration with consulting firm Carbone 4, Oxfam has created a calculator that will allow you to estimate the carbon footprint of your bank accounts. Go here to access it. All you need to do is indicate the total amount of your money in euros, there are six major French banks.
Two years after the Oxfam report, have these six French banks refocused?
“Today, French banks are no longer investing in coal, yet the four largest French banks continue to work with fossil fuels without redirecting their funding to the energy transition. explains Mr. Poidats.
However, according to the latter, we can still see some signs of progress on the side of Crédit Mutuel and Banque Postale: “We see that Banque Postale is taking more and more measures to get out of fossil fuels and reduce carbon. In October 2021, in particular, he pledged not to fund any more fossil fuel projects. »
However, French banks continue to be Europe’s leading fossil fuel financiers. Recently, many activists condemned the funding provided by three French banks to the EACOP (East African Pipeline) project of TotalEnergies in Uganda, which is described as a climate bomb.
2 – Download the RIFT program.
If you want to know if your savings are funded by projects such as EACOP or one of the 425 other “carbon bombs” that may appear, the RIFT program is for you. This program, initiated by the teams of the responsible investment platform Lita, allows you to analyze the impact of your current accounts, savings accounts and life insurance on society and the environment.
If you’ve used programs like Yuka before, the principle is relatively similar. All you have to do is enter the money you have in your various accounts and books, then the program tells you the number of kilograms of CO² thrown away per year, as well as the sectors financed by your savings (real estate, large companies , loans). for individuals, etc.). Thus, the program warns you when you are funding a sensitive sector, such as armaments or fossil fuel projects.Rift application
If you don’t agree with how your bank uses your savings, the Actions tab allows you to go further, offering alternative investment options according to the themes and sectors you want to support.
3- Contact your bank adviser.
Once you know a little more about how your money is used, sending an email to a bank advisor, the first contact for any customer, will be a good way to show your bank that the way you use your savings is imported.
The more customers demand investment in favor of sustainable transition, the more banks will be forced to change their practices to meet demand.
Recently, before the TotalEnergies general meeting, many climate activists, including Camille Etienne, called on all those who oppose the EACOP project to contact their bank to express their disapproval of the financial support they could provide.
4- Choose alternative banks.
If your current bank does not match your values, you can approach more ethical solutions, such as Nef, a banking cooperative that has only offered financing for environmental, social and cultural projects for more than 33 years.
Another possibility is Crédit coopératif, a cooperative bank whose capital is held by its customers. His account and AGIR booklet give everyone the opportunity to choose which affiliate organization they want to support.
Mr. Poidats still reminds that “the goal is first of all to change the banks, not to change the banks.”