But Seriously, What’s in Your Wallet?

Banks & Climate Change

Anja Semanco

Banks. We all use them. Because unless you’re burying bars of gold in your backyard or shoving your life savings into your sock drawer (we don’t judge), we’re all in need of a secure place to store our hard-earned cash. But unlike buried gold bars or a tube sock full of crumpled bills, when you put money in any bank, it does a lot more than just hang around waiting to be spent.

“When you deposit money in the bank, it doesn’t just sit there, it goes out into the world and finances things,” said Ben Stuart, Chief Marketing Officer at Bank of the West. 

Banks offer loans for all sorts of ventures––cars, homes and small businesses are on one side of the coin, oil rigs, pipelines and mining operations are on the other. If you’re not keeping up with your bank’s investing reports, your paychecks and side hustles might be supporting the cashflow of financing for the fossil fuel industry. Yikes.

When it comes to climate solutions, banks and financial institutions might seem a little off the beaten path, but they’re incredibly powerful players. The outdoor industry does a lot of business with big banks and the outdoor community could be the increase in pressure to get those banks out of fossil fuels. Not so far off the beaten path now, eh?

POW + Bank of the West

In addition to political will and creating a cultural shift in our nation’s attitude about climate, financial solutions are essential to solving climate change. Which is why POW has chosen to partner with Bank of the West

“POW aligned with Bank of the West because it is one of the only U.S. banks taking action to combat climate change via sustainable financing practices,” said POW Executive Director, Mario Molina. “Bank of the West has proven to be an important ally to the outdoor sports industry. We’re excited to welcome them into our community; their proactive action on energy transition issues makes them a natural fit with POW’s mission.” 

Since the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted (which says carbon dioxide emissions have to be slashed by 45 percent below 2010 levels and hit net zero by 2050), banks have financed fossil fuels with $1.9 trillion––and financing has increased every year. As Bill McKibben wrote in the New Yorker last September, “I suspect that the key to disrupting the flow of carbon into the atmosphere may lie in disrupting the flow of money to coal and oil and gas.” 

To ensure that we have outdoor adventures for years to come, use your wallet and your voice to help stop the money pipeline––because your dollars should be a force for good.