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Move the Money guide for individuals

Did you know that your savings and pension funds can make up more than half of your personal carbon footprint? Did you also know that it's easy to do something about it? This guide will help you reduce your own carbon footprint and contribute to society's green transition. It will take you less than an hour – but can have a big climate impact.
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Individuals who want to reduce their carbon footprint are often skilled at recycling, buying second-hand, changing their eating habits, and switching to more sustainable modes of transport. But, most forget to look at how they keep, save and invest their money.
Many financial institutions still invest heavily in the fossil fuel sector, meaning your money might indirectly be supporting these activities. Currently, over 6,500 institutional investors hold bonds and shares in coal, oil, and gas companies worth more than US$3 trillion. Several big banks still invest in fossil fuel companies and/or lend money to new oil and gas exploration.
The bank, where we keep our cash, is often the largest single contributor to our carbon footprint. Studies have found that greening your money can be far more powerful than the combined effect of giving up flying, ditching meat, or switching to clean energy.
Moving your money can also help create a ripple effect that accelerates the transition to a fossil-free society. Dr. Jonathan Donges, Co-Leader of the FutureLab on Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene, describes these as the triggering ‘positive’ socio-economic tipping points that can accelerate decarbonization. According to his research, one of the ”most rapid” triggers is divestments in the financial markets.
The third and most important reason to move your money is that the money is needed to finance the green transition. Some investors still argue that divesting will not change anything since all that happens is that another investor will step in and buy what you just sold. But these arguments miss the point. The International Energy Agency (IEA) calculates that $4,5 trillion needs to be invested annually in clean energy by 2030. If you move $10,000 from the fossil fuel sector to the green sector, that means there is now $10,000 more available to help this sector grow. And, since the clean energy sector is booming while fossil energy is continuously losing market shares, moving your money also increases your chances of getting a good long-term return on your investments.
So, time to get started. Grab a cup of coffee, ask your partner or another family member to sit down next to you, flip your laptop open, and follow these steps on how to Move the Money. 1. Where is your money? What bank or other financial institution are you using for your savings or daily needs? Is your money placed in a savings account or invested in stocks or funds? Which ones? And how much? Where do you have your loans and pension savings? If you are employed, try to find out which pension fund provider your company is using and where and how your pension money is invested. Write it all down in this Excel sheet. 2. Is your bank or pension fund still investing in fossil fuels? Search for your bank, pension fund, or other institutional investor on Investing in Climate Chaos. If you find it on the list, look up the figure for “total investments,” and add this number to your Excel sheet.

Another important thing to do is to find out what others think. Search for the companies names on We Don’t Have Time and see if other users have given them Climate Warmings ⚠️. If you find criticism that makes you concerned, make a note of that in the excel sheet as well. 3. Contact your bank or other financial institution. Ask them if they plan to divest from fossil fuels, and when. Let them know that you will consider moving your money if they keep investing in oil, coal or gas or lending money to such operations. If you have a bank contact person, call him or her or book a personal meeting. The second best option is to send an email. By doing so, you make it clear to the financial institution that there is a demand for green alternatives. Most banks have email addresses on their website, often in the “About Us” or “Contact Us” section. If you cannot find it, look for contacts in the “Media” or “Press Contacts” section. Here is a mail template you can use (feel free to modify and translate to your language, pro tip, use ChatGPT);

Subject: Inquiry Regarding Fossil Fuel Investments Dear [Bank/Pension Fund Name], I hope this message finds you well. As a long-standing customer of [Bank/Pension Fund Name], I am reaching out to gain insights into our institution's investment strategies, particularly regarding fossil fuels. With the global consensus at the UN COP28 meeting on the urgency of transitioning away from fossil fuels to mitigate climate change, my concern about the destinations of my investments has deepened. It has come to my attention that [Bank/Pension Fund Name] has invested [XXX USD] in the oil, coal, and gas sectors, according to data from investinginclimatechaos .org
Could you please clarify [Bank/Pension Fund Name]'s stance on these investments and any plans to divest from these industries in favor of renewable and sustainable solutions? My decision to maintain my financial relationship with [Bank/Pension Fund Name] hinges on the institution's commitment to a sustainable future. Aligning my investments with my environmental values is crucial to me, and I am willing to transfer my funds to an institution that better reflects these priorities if necessary. I await your prompt and detailed response on this matter, hopeful for [Bank/Pension Fund Name]'s proactive steps towards environmental sustainability. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, [Your Name]

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4. Move your Money. If your financial institution doesn’t have any credible transition plans, or it seems like they simply don’t care, you should Move the Money. Some of your money might be locked in for a few years, as is often the case with mortgages. Then you just have to wait. But if no such conditions apply, make sure you Move the Money straight away.

But where to? Here are a few ideas on how to find out which banks are taking serious climate action. Search on We Don’t Have Time which banks and financial institutions in your area have received a lot of Climate Love 💚. For country-based lists of sustainable banks, Fair Finance International is a good source. Fair Finance is a global network assessing, reporting on, and campaigning for more responsible investment policies and practices by financial institutions. It is active in the following countries and regions: (Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Southern Africa, Sweden, Thailand, The Philippines, Vietnam). Don’t hesitate to reach out to Fair Finance and ask for advice if you can’t find the info you’re looking for online. When contacting the new bank, make sure to ask them about their investment policies, to make sure it lives up to its reputation. Tell them that you have chosen them because of their good climate rating, and ask them for help on how to invest your money to maximise its climate impact. If you can’t find the perfect bank or other financial institution, don´t worry. Make a list of the banks you find interesting and contact them to find out more about how they invest their money. This, in itself, creates a big impact and makes banks aware of their customers' demands. 5. Show your support. If you haven't done so yet, sign up for the #MovetheMoney campaign, and don’t forget to add how much money you want to move. This will be handled anonymously and separated from your personal data. Our aim is simply to put more pressure on financial institutions and fossil fuel companies by showing how much money is on the move.
When you are done, please share this campaign with others on social media, and let them know how easy it is to make a climate impact with your money.
You can also read our other guides on how to make a financial climate impact on the campaign page:


Should you have any suggestions for enhancing this guide further, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at markus.lutteman@
https://wedonthavetime.org


  • Johannes Luiga

    1 w

    This instructions are very helpful! Amazingly simple facts here and very useful https://investinginclimatechaos.org/

    • Boniface Kuria

      3 w

      Now these are guideline we should all use as individual. I am certainly sharing this with my firends.

      6
      • winnie nguru

        3 w

        This is informative

        2
        • Sarah Chabane

          4 w

          Very useful!

          5
          • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

            4 w

            This is amazing. Such guidelines will go a long way in helping people reducing their carbon footprint by moving their money into green energy

            13
            • Rashid Kamau

              3 w

              @rukia_ahmed_abdi Moving to clean energy is absolutely key to combating climate change.

              1
            • Rotich Kim

              4 w

              Saving can be used to generate more of environmental friendly technology

              6
              • Varsa Mahananda

                4 w

                Quite engaging, informative, and easy-to-understand guide to move our money into clean energy. Hope this will help a lot of people, and people will actually take action.

                14
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