Over the weekend the big five banks were targeted in a series of protests to coincide with Global Divestment Day, the movement calling for investments within the fossil fuel industry to be withdrawn and diverted to low-carbon alternatives.
Global Divestment Day took place over February 13-14, with the day of action seeing events and campaigns occurring across the globe. In the UK six protests were planned for bank branches that invested in fossil fuels and over 1,400 account holders had pledged to leave their bank over the weekend.
According to campaign group Move Your Money the big five banks – HSBC, Barclays, Santander, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds – invested in excess of £66 billion in oil, gas and coal extraction in 2012 alone.
Fionn Travers-Smith, spokesperson for Move Your Money, said, “Britain’s biggest banks have been using peoples’ money to fund fossil fuels and climate change for too long, and the public simply don’t want to support these socially and environmentally catastrophic industries.
“More than 1,400 UK account holders have pledged to move their money out of fossil fuel banks if they won’t divest. But the big banks are simply refusing to budge – preferring to greenwash their activities and ignore their massive investments in fossil fuels instead.”
Move Your Money points to a poll, published last year by Abundance Generation, to highlight the demand for divestment. The Great British Money Survey 2014 found two in five Brits would be unhappy if their money was used to fund fossil fuel development
Travers-Smith added, “With a never-ending slew of bank scandals and the divestment movement growing so rapidly, real people are taking a stand and moving their money out of the banks that are driving climate change.
“Fossil fuel investments are toxic assets for the planet, and they are swiftly becoming toxic for bank reputations too. The big banks must stop using our money to fund climate chaos, or risk becoming as obsolete as the fossil fuels they fund.”
Photo: Images of Money via Flickr