Lloyds responds to our Divest! campaign

November 7, 2014

Last month Move Your Money launched Divest! – our new campaign highlighting the role that the big 5 UK banks play in financing fossil fuel extraction and driving climate change.

In the face of clear and demonstrable public demand for a transition away from fossil fuels, we’ve created a tool that makes it easy and quick to take action on climate change.

Simply email your bank directly with an ultimatum – either they commit to divesting from fossil fuels, or you’ll move your money somewhere more sustainable. If you haven’t already, please sign our letter, then share our campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

Bank Memes - Lloyds

Last week we received our first response from one of those banks – Lloyds Banking Group, which also owns Halifax and Bank of Scotland, and until recently owned TSB bank as well.

Lloyds should be commended for engaging with its customers on the issue of climate change, and it is refreshing to see a bank respond to clear public demand.

That said, Lloyds response falls well short of the demand to move your money out of fossil fuels, and does not directly answer our concerns either.

You can read our response to Lloyds bank here. Printed below is what Lloyds had to say about their funding of fossil fuels:

“I can understand your concern but want to assure you that the need to move rapidly to a low carbon resource efficient economy is something that we take very seriously.

The Lloyds Banking Group is a low-risk, UK centric retail and commercial Bank.  Our aim is to help Britain to prosper; economically, socially and environmentally.  Under our Helping Britain Prosper Plan we have already made a number of long-term commitments.  As the plan evolves I expect that… we will also include long-term environmental commitments.  Indeed, as a large UK business we have also aimed to lead by example and have already set ourselves a stretching target to reduce our own energy consumption by 30% by 2020. 

For a number of years we have been engaged with the UK Government and the EU to add our voice to others encouraging a rapid move to a low carbon economy. We have done this through our active membership of the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, Climatewise, the Banking and Environment Initiative, the CBI’s Energy and Climate Change Board and Business in the Community’s Environmental Leadership Group. We believe that this will help the UK to become a market leader in new technologies as well as helping businesses and communities to manage the risks of climate change.

We firmly believe that environmental, social and economic sustainability are interlinked, and as we make the transition to a low carbon resource efficient economy we recognise the importance of playing our part in ensuring that our economy and society can still operate in a way that provides jobs as well as the vital services we all need. 

This means the Bank is involved in a number of long-term UK energy investment projects and we see such investments as essential to ensuring a long-term, safe and sustainable energy supply for the UK. We engage regularly with the Government through the Department of Energy and Climate Change on such matters, and support our clients across a diverse range of energy projects, ranging from renewables and Carbon Capture Storage through to supporting our existing energy infrastructure. Given the UK’s historic reliance on fossil fuels these currently form part of this, but will represent a decreasing proportion over time.

I hope that this helps to address your concerns and assures you that we are playing an active role in helping the UK to decarbonise.

Best regards

Paul Turner
Group Community & Sustainable Business Director, Lloyds Banking Group”

What do you think of Lloyds’ response to our call to divest? You can read the response from Move Your Money here.

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