New poll shows 80% of people want banks to stop investing in fossil fuels

The Church of Scotland has welcomed a new opinion poll which shows 80% of people think it is morally wrong for banks to profit from investments that pollute the environment.

A new ComRes poll commissioned by Christian Aid showed that four in five people also say they do not want their savings spent on projects that damage the planet.

A total of 77% of 2,031 adults across the UK, who took part in an online survey, agreed that banks should be stopped from doing so.

Fossil fuel
Big Shift campaigners outside the headquarters of HSBC and Barclays banks in Canary Wharf in London. Christian Aid.

The findings coincide with a new report which shows how UK high street banks are profiting from some of the dirtiest fossil fuel projects around the world, while communities in South Asia, the Caribbean and USA are still paying the price for recent extreme weather events.

The Christian Aid research shows that despite the falling costs of renewables, the world is still investing over three times more in fossil fuels than renewables.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council, said: “I know that members of congregations are among those who are worried about how banks are using their money.

“The Good Money Week conference held in Edinburgh on October 12 this year highlighted these concerns and how churches are deeply involved in this debate.

“We are committed to working for climate justice and know from partner churches around the world of the threat that climate change poses for some of the world’s poorest communities.

“I commend the work of Christian Aid in bringing this research to wider attention and encourage all churches to get involved in this debate.”

Low carbon future

The opinion poll, carried out between October 20-22, also found:-

  • 78% agreed that investing in companies which cause dangerous climate change is morally wrong no matter how profitable it is.
  • 81% of people feltchief executives should take responsibility for ensuring their banks’ investments are not causing environmental damage with over 55s the largest group in support of this at 85%.
  • 85% of people think it is morally wrong to profit from investing in projects which will cause harm to children’s futures.

Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, head of Christian Aid Scotland, said: “The devastating effects of climate change are increasingly challenging.

“With people in the world’s poorest communities, those who have least to do with causing this chaos, finding themselves on the front line, struggling with severe flooding, storms, droughts, and unpredictable seasons.

“Banks and investors - including those based here in Scotland - need to move away from investing in fossil fuels and put more emphasis on financing a low-carbon future.

“It is heartening to see such overwhelming public support for money to be invested in a sustainable future where all can flourish.

“The banks need to recognise the urgency and take positive action”.