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  • Writer's pictureDan Sherrard-Smith

The big trend that is boosting social entrepreneurs ’ businesses in 2023

Where a business keeps its cash has huge implications.

Getting into the right bank, pension provider and investments could mean:

  • Happier employees

  • Happier customers

  • More aligned investors

But the wrong bank could result in millions of pounds going towards fossil fuels, factory farming and gambling.

In short, the financial choices our business makes are, arguably, the most important decisions a business can make.

Our banks are financing the climate crisis

Where your money goes matters.

The UK’s traditional big 5 banks - Barclays, HSBC, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds - put £27 billion into oil & gas companies last year.

While the world’s 60 biggest banks, including the UK’s big 5, invest 50 times more into fossil fuel expansion than the fossil fuel companies. To put that another way, for every £1 that BP invests into fossil fuel expansion, the world’s biggest banks are putting in £50.

In short, without the banks’ money, oil & gas would be a thing of the past.

The carbon impact

Google and its parent company Alphabet keep over $130 billion in cash for acquisitions, tax purposes and paying employees.

That cash is held with a few banks. And the emissions from that cash – because of the way those banks are investing – is bigger than the emissions from Google / Alphabet’s entire supply chain.

In fact, it’s twice as much.

And it’s a similar story for the average UK SME.

The average footprint for a company with 10 employees is around 75 tonnes CO2 per year. While the choice of bank adds another 75 tonnes to the total.

When the cash is taken into account, the footprint doubles.

The impact on values

And it goes further than carbon.

Where a business keeps its cash has huge implications for the world in the next 10 years.

MotherTree works with a social business with two female founders, who recruited employees from pensions and foster care.

Their values were deeply rooted in equality.

And yet, when MotherTree looked at where their banks were investing, it produced some hard-to-see results. Investments in companies with all white male boards and no policies on reducing the gender pay gap.

So all the great work of driving equality was being undone by the bank.

Want to reduce meat diets? Look to the bank.

Over the past 7 years, Barclays has funnelled £6.7 billion into JBS, one of the world’s most destructive meat corporations and known as the world’s biggest butcher.

In fact, one Deforestation Tracker estimates, between 2019 and 2021, JBS is linked to over 100,000 acres of deforestation of which 75% was potential illegal clearance.

Barclays is funding this.

Ethical Consumer recently named NatWest as one of 5 banks (including Barclays, surprise, surprise) in relation to funding cluster munitions & nuclear weapons.

While the Guardian has questioned HSBC’s approach to human rights with the majority of the bank’s profit in Hong Kong and China. The bank has faced criticism for supporting China’s controversial security law in Hong Kong, and for freezing the accounts of pro-democracy protesters.

The impact of your money extends beyond your bank accounts, it even impacts the pension you set up for your employees.

But there’s good news…

A switch to change the world (that’s good for your business)

Switching banks can lead to:

  • Happier employees

  • Happier clients

  • And more investment

It’s a chance to show the world that your business is taking the lead when it comes to the really big drivers of positive change.

Employees love to know that your business is doing this.

Increasingly, customers want to make sure they buy from responsible businesses, with low carbon footprints. Well, here’s the chance to reduce your biggest carbon footprint.

And, ludicrously, based on analysis, often, the greenest options outperform traditional banks on interest rates.

And it doesn’t stop there, the security of the banks analysed by MotherTree are all covered by FSCS, which means, whether you are with Barclays or one of the greener banks, your money is guaranteed up to £85,000.

And investors love to know their money is safe and making money!

So what are you waiting for? Make the switch to a greener bank.

MotherTree works with values-led businesses to make it really easy to reduce carbon, align values and save money on pensions, banks and bills. Do you want to make your money work for you and the planet? Then email and we’ll get back to you with some times to chat.


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