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United Kingdom: “Make My Money Matter” wants to make the banks move on the climate

This campaign of communication, carried by British artists, makes the general public aware of the way in which financial institutions invest their money.

From our correspondent in London, Laure Van Ruymbeke

>.” title=”British actress Emma Thompson, here in London in October 2022, is among the signatories of an open letter to the bosses of the UK’s five biggest banks, asking them to ‘end’ their ‘dangerous relationship’ with fossil fuel companies >>.”/>
British actress Emma Thompson, here in London in October 2022, is among the signatories of a letter open to the bosses of the UK’s five biggest banks, asking them to “end” their “dangerous relationship with fossil fuel companies”.
© Daniel Leal/AFP

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SSupporters use the art of communication to put pressure on the banks. On January 25, an open letter to the bosses of the five largest British banks asked them to “end” their “dangerous relationship with fossil fuel companies”.

Based on one observation: the latter have invested, between 2016 and 2021, nearly 337 billion euros in polluting industries. However, to reach the climate objectives of the Paris agreementand limit global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2050, all new investment in oil, gas or coal must be abandoned.

The letter is signed by well-known British actors like Emma Thompson (Return to Howards End) and Stephen Fry (Peter’s Friends), politicians, activists and NGOs. At the origin of this approach, “Make My Money Matter”, a “citizen campaign” based in London and co-founded by the New Zealand director, naturalized British, Richard Curtis (Bridget Jones Diary). The latter, like Bill Gates, has been involved for years in the fight against poverty and for the climate.

£3 trillion

Make My Money Matter” literally means “make my money matter”. The first campaign dates from 2020. It was not aimed at banks but at pension funds, which drain the contributions of the British for their retirement via a capitalization system.

READ ALSOProfits, climate… TotalEnergies, why so much hatred? However, these generally have no idea of ​​the sectors where their money is invested. Pensions represent colossal sums: around 3,000 billion pounds sterling (around 34,400 billion euros). Much, according to the organization, funds the tobacco, weapons and fossil fuel industries.

On his site, Make My Money Matter » invites each saver to select his pension fund and provides him with a standard letter asking him to account. “When we launched the campaign, not a single pension fund had made the commitment to the goal”zero net CO emissions2 [à l’horizon 2050, NDLR] “, explains David Hayman, campaign manager. “Today, more than fifty funds, or half of the UK market, have set themselves this objective. And a hundred companies told us that they wanted to green their pensions. This is a very good example of the impact of public and media pressure,” he adds.

Shale gas exploitation

Launched in November, the new campaign targets the five largest banks in the UK. It is based on a survey: more than 85% of respondents believe that their bank does not do enough to protect the planet. The country’s largest bank, Lloyds, already announced last October that it would stop financing “directly” the exploitation of new oil and gas deposits.

Two months later, it was HSBC’s turn to go green with a similar announcement, “after consultation with international bodies”, estimating that current deposits meet demand until 2050 in a “zero emission” scenario. “. “A big step”, rejoiced Make My Money Matter”.

READ ALSOThe glaciers will have almost all disappeared by 2100! How far will the movement go? No one knows, at a time when oil companies, like the British giant BP, are making gigantic profits, and when British government opens new coal mine to be allowed shale gas exploitation.

Richard Curtis prefers to quote Shakespeare: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken against the tide, leads to fortune. But if you miss your chance, life’s great journey falls miserably to the sand. However, today, we are at high tide. Let’s take the flow while it is favorable or all that we have risked will be lost. »

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