As climate change continues apace with 2020 one of the hottest years on record, a survey of consumers who bank with Barclays and HSBC shows that these banks risk losing up to three million customers due to financing fossil fuels. The research comes as Young Money teams up with Market Forces, an organisation campaigning to stop banks financing environmental damage, for the Big Bank Detox Day (today) to urge consumers to vote with their feet and tell the big banks that enough is enough.
A new online survey, carried out by ICM Unlimited on behalf of , shows that Barclays and HSBC benefit from a low level of awareness of their climate impacts, with four fifths (80%) of customers unaware that their bank is investing in fossil fuels. When faced with the facts, however, the survey reveals that over one in ten customers say they would be very likely to consider switching banks. This would be the equivalent of 3 million customers leaving HSBC and Barclays for more ethical alternatives.
Young Money and Market Forces are now calling on young people to put their money where their mouth is and switch to a more ethical bank TODAY as part of the Big Bank Detox Day. Bank On Our Future, a network of organisations including Market Forces campaigning for more sustainable practices in the finance industry, is also calling on consumers to tell their banks why they’re leaving, either through social media or writing to them.
Iona Bain, founder of Young Money Blog and author of new book “OWN IT!”, has herself detoxified her banking and never looked back. She comments:
“One of the most effective things we can do as consumers to fight climate change is to demand that our money is invested sustainably, even more than going vegan, taking fewer flights or using less plastic. If you are one of the millions of customers of HSBC and Barclays who is horrified to learn that your money is being invested in fossil fuels, there are plenty of great ethical alternatives out there and switching is very straightforward. But don’t leave quietly! Tell your bank exactly why you are leaving to send a powerful message to the industry that their time for destroying the environment is up.”“I switched away from one of these banks last year (and blogged about it) as I was fed up of feeling like I was part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. The seven day switching service and a decent choice of more ethically-minded banks means there’s no reason to stay put. Ultimately, things won’t change until banks see that we’re voting with our feet – and are told in no uncertain terms why.”
Here are my tips on how you can make the Big Bank Detox work for you:
1. Do your homework. Organisations like Ethical Consumer do in-depth research into financial firms to help customers make informed choices.
2. Establish your red lines. Being clear about what you won’t tolerate as a customer will simplify your choice and help you sleep better at night, knowing that you are being consistent with your values.
3. Be vocal on social media. We’re all influencers in our own way and banks pay more attention to the online conversation than you might think.
4. Dabble with a secondary account if you want to try out a new bank. You should be able to quickly and easily open a new account with a bank to see what it’s like before you make a full switch.
PLEASE NOTE: Iona is proud that this blog is sponsored by Market Forces on behalf of the Big Bank Detox to raise awareness of this campaign.