Investments by Dutch banks cause more than three times the total CO2 emissions that the Netherlands emit annually. Dutch banks invest over twenty times more in projects that harm the climate such as oil extraction and coal-fired plants, than in projects for climate friendly renewable energy. ABN AMRO is the worst performing Dutch bank with the biggest climate impact. These are the findings of a Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) report published today. With the slogan “Climate Change? Not with my money!”, the environmental organisation is calling on consumers to switch to a climate friendly bank.
Milieudefensie has launched the website, www.nietmetmijngeld.nl
(“not with my money”), calling for climate conscious banking. “Banks have an enormous climate impact. Their investments in fossil fuels cause 594 million tonnes of greenhouse gas CO2 emissions. This is more than three times the amount that the Netherlands emits in a year,“ says Donald Pols of Friends of the Earth Netherlands. “The 6.9 billion euros that banks invest in renewable energy are peanuts compared to the 118 billion euros that they invest in fossil fuels.” The banks are not very open about the impact of their investments on the climate. Milieudefensie's report is the first overview to date comparing these investments.
Customers can reduce their CO2 substantially by choosing a climate conscious bank. “For example, an ABN AMRO customer who transfers 2,000 euros from their savings account to the Rabobank, reduces just as much CO2 as they would by replacing all their incandescent light bulbs with energy saving ones. If they were to transfer 10,000 euros from the ABN AMRO to the Triodos Bank or the ASN Bank they would save as much CO2 as not driving their car for half a year.
On the website, consumers can check the amount of CO2 emissions a bank causes with their savings. Customers can send an e-mail to their bank or order an infopack on how to switch to a climate conscious bank. “We hope large numbers of consumers and organisations will join in this action”, says Pols.
ASN Bank and Triodos Bank are the most climate friendly banks in the Netherlands. “Other banks should follow their example and reduce their investments in dirty fossil fuels. We must invest more in energy efficiency and renewables,” adds Donald Pols. He concludes: “It is all hands on deck to save the climate now. Influential actors like banks have a special responsibility to take action and start investing in solutions to climate change.”
Members of Parliament will ask questions to the Dutch government about the findings of the report this Monday.