Our prospects of tackling runaway climate change are greatly diminished without the financial powerhouses that drive our economy. The financial sector is a key enabler of the climate crisis: it funds, finances, and insures those fossil fuel companies most responsible for planetary warming in order to turn a quick profit.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Financiers like banks, asset managers, and insurers hold tremendous influence over what gets built and produced what business plans go ahead, and the lobbying groups actively obstructing climate progress. Thanks to pressure from the finance savvy corners of the climate movement, global finance institutions are waking up to their power, and some are seizing the responsibility. But we still have a long way to go, and time is short.
To achieve a shift in global finance, we organize and scale social movements to drive change harder and faster in the finance sector, to hold industry leaders accountable for the gap between rhetoric and action, and to hasten the stampede of capital out of fossil fuels and into clean energy.
Making fossil fuels uninsurable
As the coordinator of the Insure Our Future network, we’re campaigning to stop the insurance industry from underwriting and investing in fossil fuel projects and companies. Without insurance, most fossil fuel projects couldn’t be built or operate. Thanks to the network we support, there’s been an exodus away from coal in recent years, and we are beginning to see movement on oil and gas: by November 2020, 23 major insurers had adopted policies ending or limiting underwriting for coal, and 9 for tar sands.
Shifting the investing giants
We work with a diverse network of global partner groups and finance analysts to seriously scale up investors’ ambition and unlock their power to put the brakes on the climate emergency.
As part of this work we’re proud to be co-founders of the BlackRock’s Big Problem campaign, which successfully pushed the world’s largest asset manager to take a stance on climate in early 2020 with CEO Larry Fink saying BlackRock would “center sustainability in its business model.” The January announcement was a step in the right direction and we’re now working with our partners to hold this finance giant accountable to its rhetoric, and push it to become the climate leader the finance world needs. We have a particular focus on the problem of passive investing – which is effectively setting the global economy on autopilot towards a climate catastrophe.
Financing our future
We are mobilizing and emboldening a network of NGOs and grassroots movements to get the UK’s largest banks and the Bank of England out of coal, oil, and gas, and work with our partners to lobby key government actors to get there. We’re seeing a slew of commitments by banks to be net-zero by 2050 and it’s our job to separate out the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Central banks all over the world have the powers to regulate and rein in climate chaos. That’s why our efforts have also expanded beyond the UK. We are mobilizing the European Central Bank and other national central banks, including the Federal Reserve, to align with the Paris Agreement and support the low-carbon transition.