Ecosia, headquartered in Berlin, unveils an expansion of its fossil fuel icon tool in Germany’s capital city to spotlight and denounce prominent financial institutions, including banks and insurers, that lend support to the fossil fuel industry. This innovative move aligns with Ecosia’s commitment to direct 100% of its profits towards environmental causes.
The objective of this initiative is to enhance consciousness regarding the contributions of these entities to the financing of environmental deterioration.
The Fossil Fuel Icon Tool by Ecosia
Ecosia’s Fossil Fuel Icon Tool is now being incorporated into the websites of the leading 32 banks, each having invested or funded over $50 billion for fossil fuel emitters and producers. This encompassing list includes renowned institutions such as Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and Bank of America.
This innovative tool will illuminate the financial involvement of banks across various facets of the global fossil fuel sector, spanning from extraction to distribution and eventual combustion.
The primary objective of this tool is to unveil instances of greenwashing within the financial realm, thereby empowering users to cultivate sustainable preferences. It effectively spotlights the significant fossil fuel ties of major banks while also advocating for eco-friendly alternatives like Triodos Bank, nurturing a foundation for informed and environmentally conscious decisions.
In its quest, Ecosia leverages data extracted from the “Banking on Climate Chaos” resource to pinpoint financial entities deeply entrenched in supporting fossil fuel producers. This repository provides comprehensive insights into fossil fuel financing undertaken by the top 60 global banks. Notably, it features a Coal Policy Tool designed for policy evaluation, net-zero commitments, and real-life narratives that underscore the adverse consequences on diverse communities.
Unveiling the Banking Sector’s Contribution to the Climate Crisis: What’s the Motive?
Fossil fuel emitters heavily rely on substantial financial backing, encompassing equity investments, loans, and various financial products, often supplied by leading global banks. Financial institutions situated in Wall Street and the City of London have substantially reaped profits from supporting industries related to oil, gas, and coal, despite the environmental consequences this entails.
Several of these banks have recently declared record-breaking profits, capitalizing on the robust financial performance of companies like Shell, which reported a staggering $5 billion in profits propelled by soaring energy prices.
Dr. Ruben Korenke, Product Manager of the Green Team at Ecosia, underlines, “Ecosia holds the perspective that the public is provided with inadequate – if not virtually non-existent – information regarding their bank’s involvement in financing and exacerbating the climate crisis through direct support of fossil fuel endeavors.”
He continues, “We firmly believe that our users deserve a broader spectrum of information that independently verifies a bank’s climate impact, alongside their professed net-zero ambitions versus their tangible climate influence. This empowers users to form a personal stance on which bank to align with.”
Korenke further emphasizes, “Our aspiration is to gradually steer these major banks away from financing fossil fuel projects. By raising global awareness about the detrimental and harmful nature of their practices, we aim to transform it into a reputational concern that ultimately erodes the profits attainable from this destructive industry.”
Established by Christian Kroll in 2009, Ecosia asserts its status as the globe’s most expansive non-profit search engine, channeling all proceeds to bolster environmental causes and facilitate the planting of more than 175 million trees, through collaborative efforts spanning over 35 countries.
Incorporated as Germany’s inaugural certified B Corporation back in 2014, the company boasts solar installations generating double the energy requisite for search operations. A pivotal juncture was witnessed in 2018 when Ecosia divested its shares to the Purpose Foundation, effectively eliminating the possibility of individual profit accrual.