NEARLY three-quarters of Scots want banks to be legally required to reveal where they invest individual and corporate customers’ money, according to a new report.
The poll for Christian Aid saw significant support for financial institutions to be more transparent about how they use customers’ money, with 73 per cent of people in Scotland – and 70 per cent UK-wide – supporting such a move, compared to 14 per cent who disagreed.
It also showed that half of British adults also said the type of companies in which a bank invests was important to them when deciding which bank to give their custom.
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The results come as Christian Aid launches a campaign that will see bank account holders asking RBS, Lloyds Banking Group (Bank of Scotland owner), HSBC and Barclays, if they have a climate plan for their customers’ money.
A report by the charity shows the UK’s big four banks are still much more heavily invested in fossil fuels than in clean energy, and are not moving quickly enough to change this.
Its author Ken Boyce, said: “These poll results show that a large majority of British adults want banks to come clean about where they invest billions of pounds of ordinary people’s money that they control.
More than ever this shows that private finance is the public’s business.”
“Today we are launching a new campaign for banks to shift their customers’ billions out of dirty and dangerous fossil-fuelled industries and into cleaner ones that will help keep people and our planet safer.”
The survey by ComRes also found that women are more likely to say they care about the type of firms in which a bank invests (53 per cent versus 46 per cent of men). Women are also more likely than men to say that environmental issues are important for them, when choosing where to bank (44 per cent - 37 per cent).
Boyce added: “The big four banks have all signed the Paris Pledge for Action in which they affirmed their commitment to act to support the realisation of the goals of the Paris Agreement. We tried to assess what concrete actions and commitments they are taking. We awarded them a D grade because they are not living up to that pledge.
“They are still financing the building of coal-fired power stations which will lock countries into high carbon infrastructure making it harder for them to meet their climate ambitions. They are still financing oil and gas companies far more than they are renewables. And they are reluctant to set measurable targets for scaling up support for renewables and phasing out support for fossil fuels.”
Banks’ support for fossil fuels was also raised at an event in Glasgow last night, in one of a series of workshops by community group Fossil Free Strathclyde.
It examined where your money goes when it is put into the hands of banks, funds and companies, and outlined what people can do about it.