Our founder’s thoughts on how the UK finance sector is responsible for almost double Britain’s net total emissions
Earlier this week, news broke that the UK financial sector is responsible for almost double Britain’s net total emissions.
The study, commissioned by Greenpeace and WWF, found that the loans and mortgages made by major UK banks and asset managers were responsible for 805 million tonnes of emissions in 2019. This figure is 1.8 times larger than the net emissions of the entire UK in the same year, which came to 455 million tonnes.
And probably most shocking of all is that, if the UK’s biggest banks and investors were a country, they would rank 9th in the whole world for CO2 production. That’s falling behind the likes of Japan and Iran, and ahead of Germany.
After years of knowing the impact that our personal finance choices have on the environment and warning consumers to act now in order to help turn things around and save the planet, our founder – David Macdonald – was disappointed to read such alarming figures but wasn’t surprised by their magnitude.
“For a long time, money, investments and pensions have been seen as boring topics – and complex ones too,” said David. “Even those people who are motivated enough to start thinking about it and doing some research, usually get bombarded by confusing jargon and worrying disclaimers. Then try to incorporate a layer of ‘what it means to be green’ over the top of that and it will soon seem like a task for another day.
“In most instances, it doesn’t even get any easier even when speaking to an expert,” added David, referencing a recent research paper published by KPMG which found that 67% of UK investors said that investing their money sustainably was important to them, despite NextWealth revealing that only 19% of financial advisers even talk to their clients about ESG factors.
“And when I say ESG,” adds David, “that is the bare necessity of what it takes for a fund to be green. It is the tick-boxing exercise which basically determines it’s not brown. Positive impact investing, however, means solely investing in funds that only make a positive difference to people, communities or the planet.
But David remains hopeful.
Despite the financial advisory community proving themselves to be lazy and ignorant – afraid to try something new and disadvantaging themselves and their clients in the process – things are changing.
Consumers are reading headlines like this one pushed out by Greenpeace and WWF and are starting to wake up to the fact their beloved savings and investments are driving fossil fuel extraction, deforestation and inequality. And they are not happy.
They’re demanding more answers than ever before and – if they’re not getting them or the answers aren’t what they had hoped for – then they’re turning to more thoughtful advisers like ourselves for help. And we’re happy to give it.
Ultimately, if there’s a way that your money can contribute to good causes, with your pension not only securing your future but building a future worth retiring into, while also enjoying better investment returns, then isn’t that the biggest no-brainer there is?”
Interested by our founder, David’s, thoughts and want to find out a bit more about how we could support you? That’s great! You can catch a friendly member of our team on email@example.com or drop us a line on 03330 503300.
About the author
After more than twenty years working in and for a wide range of industries ranging from music to charity to publishing to governance, Richard joined The Path because of his personal commitment to environmental and social causes. He has an interest in microfinance, community land trusts, and renewables, as well as being a keen investor in community crowdfunding and community share schemes.
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