Make bankers come clean about their fossil fuel finance

The UK finance sector is bankrolling destruction by pouring billions of pounds into dirty fossil fuel projects that are devastating people's lives around the world.

Banks, pension funds and other shady financiers must be forced to come clean about the damage to our climate that is being caused by the projects that they fund.

New regulation coming into force later this year will mean the UK's biggest businesses will have to report on their carbon emissions. But the financial sector has been let off the hook from disclosing the climate impacts of their investments.

Banks like Barclays will have to disclose the emissions from lighting their office whilst saying nothing of the billions they plough into destructive oil and coal initiatives.

Send a message to business secretary Vince Cable, to call on the UK government to make bankers come clean about the climate destruction they're bankrolling.
I am writing to express my concern that the current plans for mandatory carbon reporting for UK listed companies will not capture the full carbon footprint of banks and other financial sector companies.

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While the current model will ensure that big companies will have to disclose their direct emissions and emissions arising from purchased electricity consumption (scopes I and II), this will not include their 'financed emissions': the carbon that will be emitted as a result of financial investment decisions.

As things stand, banks and other financial investors will have to account for the carbon footprint of the lightbulbs installed in their offices but not the emissions generated from the billions of pounds they plough into fossil fuels every year. Banks and other investors do this either through financing loans to fossil fuel companies, their equity investment portfolios or by underwriting bond or share issues by high carbon companies.

This is a serious shortcoming of the new regulations. UK banks bankroll fossil fuel companies for billions of pounds and the firms which manage the assets of millions of UK pensioners like Prudential, Legal&General and Aviva also hold shares worth billions in high-carbon companies.

The UK financial sector is funding dirty energy projects that are damaging the livelihoods of some of the world's poorest people. The carbon emitted will also contribute to climate change induced famine, drought and flooding for billions of people. We need action now to avoid catastrophic climate change.

As things stand none of these financial institutions will be made to account for the climate impact of these activities. This is unacceptable. We need mandatory reporting of financed emissions now.

As the cabinet minister responsible for mandatory carbon reporting through the Companies Act, please take immediate action to implement 'financed emissions' reporting (which would be included in what is known as a 'scope III' reporting regime) for large companies (both listed and private) so that the true carbon footprint of our powerful financial sector can be revealed.


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