New divestment campaign hits big 5 banks

October 20, 2014

New Divestment Campaign hits Big Five Banks

-Survey finds 39% of Brits concerned by money in fossil fuels. That’s more than the daily users of Facebook in the UK [1]

– 36%, more than 1 in 3, want banks to divest from fossil fuels [2]

– Move Your Money launches ‘Divest!’ campaign to put climate change banks on notice

-Good Money week (19-25 October) highlights fossil free finance options [3]

Monday 20th October 2014: A new campaign calling for banks to stop funding fossil fuels and climate change has been launched today by campaign group Move Your Money. ‘Divest!’ comes on the back of fast moving public concern about climate change and fossil fuel investments.

Currently, Britain’s biggest banks have issued over £66 billion in corporate loans, equities and bonds into coal, tar sands, fracking, oil and gas extraction [4]. However, the recent Great British Money Survey found that 39% of Brits are concerned about their savings and investments being used to fund fossil fuels, and that more than 1 in 3 (36%) want their bank to stop investing in the sector [2].

The ‘Divest!’ campaign, supported by a new Move Your Money report on fossil fuels and banking, turns dissatisfaction into action by enabling people to talk directly to their bank about fossil fuel investment. An online letter to Britain’s Big Five banks, HSBC; Barclays; RBS; Lloyds and Santander outlines that they each have three months, until the end of January 2015, to commit to ending their support for fossil fuels otherwise customers will leave them. Meanwhile, the group is highlighting better banking and finance options with less impact on the environment as part of ‘Good Money’ week [3].

Charlotte Webster, Campaign Director, Move Your Money said:

“Fossil fuel investment has never been environmentally acceptable. It is now no longer socially acceptable. It is fast becoming economically unacceptable too.

“As a result, the divestment movement is spreading across the globe with investment groups like The Rockefeller Brothers recently joining religious groups, foundations, universities, councils and cities all committing to move billions of pounds out of fossil fuels. This month the University of Glasgow pledged to divest £18 million, joining the British Medical Association, Oxford City Council and the UK’s Quakers in moving away from fossil fuels.

“People’s everyday savings and investments are ultimately being used by banks to fund climate change, something we’ve found the public simply don’t want. ‘Divest!’ is everyone’s opportunity to tell their bank to clean up its act, or they will walk.”

Notably, the survey also found that awareness of the Carbon Bubble, the term used to describe the risk of fossil fuel investments has increased significantly since this time last year, when 82% of Brits did not know the meaning of the phrase, compared to 55% in Autumn 2014.

Move Your Money was established in 2012 in response to the global financial crisis and widespread dissatisfaction with banking culture, and helped 2.4 million people to close their bank accounts with the Big Five banks following the launch of their Move Your Money Scorecard last year. ‘Divest!’ follows a successful campaign by Australian counterparts, Market Forces, putting pressure on Australian banks funding the fossil fuel industry.

To join the campaign, read the ‘Divest!’ report and put your bank on notice to divest, go to www.moveyourmoney.org.uk

-ENDS-

Press contact

Charlotte Webster

Charlotte@moveyourmoney.org.uk

07990 583307

or

Fionn Travers-Smith

Fionn@moveyourmoney.org.uk

07778 842565

About Move Your Money

Move Your Money UK is a growing movement of ordinary people who are fed up with British banks and want to build a better banking sector. Since the beginning of the banking crisis, almost nothing has really changed. The big banks gambled with our money, and we all ended up losing. Move Your Money gives individuals and organisations the motivation, information and means to move their money to better banks. By giving customers the tools to find the right bank for them, and helping them to make the move and articulate why they have done so, the organisation sends a strong signal to the banking sector that change is coming, whether they like it or not. Move Your Money UK was born in February 2012, three years after the banking crisis. It is funded by individual donations and grants from the Barrow Cadbury Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. www.moveyourmoney.org.uk

Notes to editors

[1]Facebook reveals daily users in US and UK http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/08/13/facebook-users-idINDEE97C0DC20130813

[2] Both figures taken from the One Poll & Abundance Generation, The Great British Money Survey, September 2014 http://docs.abundancegeneration.com/GBMoneySurvey.xlsx

[3] See the United Kingdom Sustainable Investment and Finance Associaition’s Good Money Week, http://www.goodmoneyweek.com/

[4] Britain’s Big Five Banks and their links to fossil fuels

Assets in oil, gas and coal extraction, in £ million

Corporate loans

Equities

Corporate bonds

Sum

HSBC Holdings

9,966.79

3,786.03

3,257.81

17,010.64

Barclays*

12,594.50

3,059.24

15,653.73

Royal Bank of Scotland

13,947.79

1,242.18

340.30

15,530.26

Lloyds Banking Group

5,460.12

7,775.56

1,183.64

14,419.32

Santander Group*

2,807.25

735.30

3,542.54

Total across the Big 5

66,156.50

*excluding corporate bonds due to lack of available data

From Figure 15 of “The Price of Doing Too Little Too Late: The impact of the carbon bubble on the EU financial system” A report prepared for the Greens/EFA Group – European Parliament February 2014

The loans are to oil, gas and coal mining companies worldwide that were still (partially) outstanding as of 31 December 2012. They are calculated depending on the total years to maturity.

For shares and bonds, “available data on the composition of trading portfolios are insufficient to track exposures to specific companies. Instead, the exposure to high-carbon companies in leading stock and bond indices is used.” Shares: BlackRock’s iShares MSCI World UCITS as of December 2012 (9.4%). Bonds: PIMCO Global Advantage Bond Index (15.3%).

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