Ethical banking campaign strikes chord

Environmentalists in the Netherlands have launched a campaign to persuade people to switch to more climate-conscious banks.

The Friends of the Earth campaign, Not With My Money, appears to be striking a chord with the Dutch.

Donald Pols, the organisation's energy campaign coordinator, said: "We welcome the fact that an increasing amount of customers no longer accepts that their own bank invests in industries that cause climate change.

"They are taking action to make sure that their money is not used to finance things like coal plants and oil extraction."

A report published by the organisation this month says Dutch banks finance more than 594 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually - three times the country's total.

Financial giants ABN AMRO and ING/Postbank are labelled the most destructive for the climate, followed by Fortis and Rabobank.

The most climate conscious are Triodos Bank and ASN Bank.

Mr Pols insists customer action can make bring about change.

"Transferring ten thousand euros savings from ABN AMRO to the Triodos Bank or ASN Bank results in as much reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as not driving your car for six months," he said.

Friends of the Earth claims it has been in talks with the big Dutch banks for more than a year pushing for a more climate conscious investment policy - but to little effect.

"To date our call for action has been ignored," said Mr Pols. "Now their customers are taking action by choosing to put their money where they know it will be invested without harming the climate."

In the first 12 days of the campaign, FoE reported 100 customers had switched to more climate conscious banks with around 40 cutting up their cards outside ABN AMRO last Friday.

Some 2,000 are said to have requested information about moving banks.

David Gibbs



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