Ethical banks in Australia: how to green your finances
Updated: Mar 9
Moving our money away from banks and super funds that fund fossil fuels is a relatively simple, one-time action that has a lasting impact. In just 18 months, One Small Step members have collectively shifted an estimated $4.6 million away from banks and super funds that invest in fossil fuels, by switching to green financial institutions with climate-friendly investment policies. This money is no longer supporting the development of coal, oil and gas projects. And we anticipate that this number will continue to grow as thousands more individuals take our free Green Finance course in the app!
Wondering which banks in Australia don’t fund the fossil fuel industries? For making the switch to environmentally-friendly banks in Australia, our top recommendations are Bank Australia and Beyond Bank!
Bank Australia has clearly stated that it has never lent money to the fossil fuel industry. Instead, it actively invests in renewables and is carbon neutral.
Beyond Bank has stated that it does not have any investments with fossil-fuel associated companies, according to Market Forces, and is a certified B Corp.
Other banks including Bendigo Bank, IMB and Auswide Bank do not fund projects in the fossil fuel industry. We also recommend using Market Forces to help assess your current bank’s performance. They have a great comparison table that shows the lending positions of banks in Australia regarding fossil fuel investments.
What you should look for when choosing a fossil fuel-free bank:
A clear and defined environmental policy indicating that the bank does not and will not lend money to fossil fuel projects and industries including coal, oil and gas: While many banks might not currently fund fossil fuel projects for various reasons, they may fund these projects in the future if they don’t have a clear and defined policy indicating that they won’t.
Transparency surrounding the industries that they do lend money to: Some banks provide details on the industries that they invest in for example renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure and education.
Carbon neutrality: A carbon neutral bank does not contribute to carbon emissions. This is usually achieved through a combination of using low or no emissions utilities and services in its operations and offsetting.
Their parent company: While a bank mightn’t directly fund fossil fuel projects, they may be a subsidiary of a bank that does. It’s worth checking whether or not a bank has a parent company before making the switch and, if it does, finding out what its environmental policies are.
Interested in switching banks? One Small Step offers a completely free, interactive step-by-step guide for making the switch to a fossil fuel-free bank and super fund through its Green Finance course. From comparing banks and choosing the right one for you, to opening your new account and closing your old bank accounts, One Small Step shows you exactly which actions to take and helps you every step of the way. The course takes an estimated 2 hours to complete. 2 hours is worth it to move your money out of financial institutions that are still supporting new fossil fuel projects!
One Small Step’s mission is to help millions of people achieve net zero emissions so that together we can create a healthier future for our planet. You can download the app for free today to start cutting your personal emissions and track your impact as you do it. You’ll be joining tens of thousands of others taking small steps towards a better world. And remember, when you make the switch, be sure to very politely tell your existing bank why you’re doing it! Banks are more likely to support a healthier future for our planet if they know their customers won’t accept it if they don’t!
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One Small Step helps you every step of the way to living a more environmentally-healthy life. When you download the app, you’ll receive a personalised roadmap that is tailored to you and the way you live your life to help you reduce your carbon impact.
The financial information contained here is general in nature, does not constitute financial advice, and doesn't take into account your situation or circumstances. Consider getting in touch with a professional advisor to access specific advice tailored to your unique situation. In the app, we also provide some resources on government websites you can access that help you to compare super funds and banks.