The climate is changing and that changing climate is putting the $887 billion outdoor industry, the landscapes, and the wildlife that we love, at risk and the economics and the science are clear about the risks of the current relationship between financial institutions and the fossil fuel industry and yet our banks continue to fund coal, gas and oil companies.
According to the ‘Banking on Climate Chaos Report,’ In 2020 alone, JPMorgan Chase provided $51.3 billion in capital to fossil fuel companies for projects including the Tar Sands, Arctic oil and gas exploration, and fracking. The firm has provided nearly $317 billion in financing to the industry since the Paris agreement. Right behind them is Citigroup with $223 billion since Paris; Wells Fargo with $223 billion since Paris Agreement; and Bank of America, Barclays and BNP Paribas each rank in the top 10 fossil fuel financiers with totals above $120 billion since Paris. Combined, the world’s 60 top financial institutions financed $751 billion of fossil fuel projects last year and a staggering $3.8 trillion dollars since the Paris Agreement.
Ski Butlers’ CEO, Bryn Carey, understands climate urgency and this year decided to shift the companies’ financial decisions with climate front of mind by leaving JPMorgan Chase to KeyBank. By considering the climate impact of Ski Butlers’ financial decisions, Ski Butler’s is now able to uphold both their values and long-term business interests in an a‑political, yet significant way.
Below is an interview with Ski Butlers CEO, Bryn Carey, to learn why we switch banks and why this move matters.
Why is this important to you?
Money got us into climate change and money is going to get us out. If Ski Butlers can bank with an institution that does not finance the fossil fuel industry and at the same time invest in clean energy, we are part of the solution. Shifting your financing to a bank that has divested in fossil fuels is probably the most impactful climate action an individual or company can make.
What results do you hope to see from this action?
It is important to note that most individuals & companies are not making bad decisions. Most are simply unaware of where their money might go depending on who they bank with. Most banking decisions are based on which branch is geographically close; who they know; or and if they have the access and technology needed for their personal or business actions.
My hope, outside of the positive impact it will have on the environment, is that this move will help other companies and individuals realize they can do the same. I hope in sharing this story, as many people as possible will think about where they bank. And if you don’t believe in digging for fossil fuels in the arctic; or don’t want to increase global emissions throughout; or rely on the snowpack for your business – then don’t bank with a bank that invests in oil, gas, extraction of fossil fuels.
It’s funny that JPMorgan Chase, CEO Jamie Diamond, visited the Park City Chase branch in September 2021. There was a write up in the paper about this visit and our local community asked him what he thought this winter would be like?
However, no one asked the world’s biggest fossil fuel financer about why his company is proactively destroying our winter economy? These are the questions we need to start asking and if they don’t have an answer, we need to move our money to institutions that do. Banks will listen when they start to lose money
What challenges did you face in this process?
Moving banks is not easy. It tends to be a bank’s goal to capture your business and keep it, so you really need to be committed to the project, but there are great resources out there. While there are a few Banks that have similar divestment strategies and/or have completely divested from fossil fuels the journey each business or individual takes on this journey to find the best fit is really dependent on them and their goals.
Specific challenges we faced when starting this process was finding a bank that has divested from fossil fuels but also had all the tools and resources that a small business needs like BLOC, auto loans, real estate loans, and credit cards/ACH.
But the outcome was that we took this moment to make our banking better holistically. We took the time to improve all aspects of our banking, which is a win-win.
Any advice for individuals or brands?
Yes, do not wait. Urgency Is key for the survival of our planet and good for business.
What resources were available and useful?
And remember: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead