Banking for Good

Written by Kajsa IngelssonNovember 7, 2017

You remember the famous movie line “money never sleeps?“. Well, turns out that’s true. And we should all be horrified what our pennies are up to while we are snoozing.. Turns out they are funding destruction and evil on a massive scale; everything from dirty pipelines thru indigenous lands, weapons, coal projects, companies with bad labor practises and deforestation.

Two recent examples are:

  • The Dakota Access Pipeline was financed by banks that have signed on to the Equator Principles, even though it was built to pump tar sands oil – the dirtiest oil on earth – and was fiercely opposed by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Lakota tribes for threatening their water sources.
  • The Belo Monte Dam in Brazil, which displaced tens of thousands of indigenous peoples and caused irreparable environmental damage, was financed by Equator banks.

Upon learning this, I was both disgusted and enlightened at the same time. I often wondered where all this dirty projects and businesses get their money from, and now I had my answer: You and me! So of course I did a little digging, cause there is no way in hell that I’m cool with that.

And the results from my investigation is two banks that you can move your money to and again sleep with a good conscience.

The best alternative for your personal banking:

Aspiration Bank. They are divested from oil and gas and instead they are putting the money in places that you can feel good about. They also have other great benefits, including:

  • An app that tracks the social and environmental impact of your spending habits
  • A checking account that pays 1% (about 100x more than big banks)
  • Worldwide reimbursed ATM fees
  • No minimum balance, service fees or minimum deposit
  • They also donate ten cents of every dollar to charities that help struggling Americans get off the ground (micro loans)

The best alternative for your business banking:

New Resource Bank. They are a triple-bottom-line bank serving values-driven businesses and nonprofits that are building a more sustainable world. “We see money as an agent of positive social, environmental and economic change and believe banking can transform the economy into one that serves all people and the planet.” They have an amazing charter and only put money into things that align with their mission. Here’s a link to their charter (link).

Good banks are out there. More are coming every year. Ask your current bank about their sustainability practices and where they invest your money. You want them to invest green, practice renewable energy banking, and make socially responsible investments, and you gotta let them know! You don’t want to fund the decline of civilization. Where we keep our money is a vote for the world we want to see.

Money talks and businesses listen.