In the Paris Agreement of 2015, world leaders pledged to stop global temperatures rising above two degrees. To achieve this, governments and scientists are united in agreeing that we must move towards a zero carbon economy.
There is also a strong financial case for shifting away from fossil fuels – in 2016, The World Economic Forum identified the failure to tackle climate change as the biggest risk we face.
Banks are investing in climate change
Our initial research showed that the biggest banks in the UK are still much more heavily invested in fossil fuels than in renewable energy and that none of them have a clear, time-bound plan or commitment to reverse this current balance.
Both the science and international agreements require banks to rapidly phase out finance to fossil fuels altogether in the coming years. To love our neighbours and God’s abundant planet as we’re entrusted to do requires a Big Shift in what banks are financing.
Over the last two years we’ve targeted Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Lloyds and asked them to make the Big Shift out of fossil fuels and into clean energy. There’s been some great progress, including Lloyds and RBS pulling out of coal altogether and HSBC committing to invest $100billion in green energy by 2025.
But the banks are still not moving fast enough. HSBC is still willing to fund new coal projects in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia, three countries extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and with massive potential for renewable energy. And despite claiming to be a climate leader, HSBC continues to invest heavily in fossil fuels.
Now we’re focusing our efforts on HSBC, calling on them to show true climate leadership and stop funding climate change altogether.