What is the ecological impact of saving?

What is the ecological impact of saving?

The money deposited in your checking and savings accounts not only sleeps: it also pollutes. Contrary to what one might think, household savings are not satisfied with staying in the bank. It also roams the markets, where banks sometimes use it to invest in polluting industries.

In this context, like reduce the ecological impact of your savings ?

According to the international organization Oxfam, it produces a traditional savings portfolio containing 25,000 euros 11 tons of C02 per year.

Or how much thecarbon footprint of an individual in one year. A more modest € 5,000 saving on a Livret A account produces 2.6 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to the daily use of a car.

These figures are chilling, especially since the French are more ants than cicadas: they save on average 16% of their income, or even 30% for the richest. The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced these practices, with surplus savings estimated at 157 billion euros between March 2020 and September 2021.

By putting our money in a savings account, we can then unknowingly contribute to the global warming.

While some products, such as Livret A or LDDS, make it possible to finance social housing or infrastructure for local communities, others can finance polluting industries. According to one she studies of the NGO Rainforest, world banks financed the coal, oil and gas industries in 2018 for an amount of 500 billion euros. The French banks, for their part, have financed these industries for 128 billion euros in 3 years.

However, there are disparities between each bank and not all use savers’ deposits to finance greenhouse gas-generating activities. Some are even engaged in a process of reducing CO2 emissions, such as the Postal Bank which undertakes to cease its investments in fossil fuels (oil and coal) by 2030.

This general framework must therefore be qualified.

Financing of fossil fuels, plastics industry … The carbon footprint of banks is significant, even if the recent work of the IPCC show the urgency of drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Of course, efforts have been made: banks now devote an average of 20% of their investments to renewable energy, responsible investment funds have been created, labels such as Greenfin or Finansol were created to distinguish responsible investment funds, green finance is developing … But there is still time before we can really change the paradigm.

In the meantime, we can happily act on our own scale.

To reduce the impact of our bank accounts on the planet, we need to adopt new habits. Here are some examples:

  • First, we can start by no longer investing directly in polluting sectors, either through stocks or ETFs. We prefer labeled funds SRI (for socially responsible investment), Finansol or Greenfin and companies that are virtuous in terms of CSR.
  • If we have the chance, why not change banks? Today there are ethical banks, whose proposal is to exclude the most polluting sectors from its investments. Some even go so far as to finance ecological projects, such as cleaning the oceans or using renewable energy.
  • Instead of putting all your money into a savings account or life insurance, why not make it work smarter? You will then be able to use part of your savings for investing in projects with a positive impact. With platforms such as Lendopoliinvest transparently in renewable energy and make sense of your money by contributing to change.
  • Savings can be used to decarbonise everyday life. It can therefore be used to finance the thermal renovation of one’s home, the purchase of solar panels (the latter being able, in the long term, Save Money) or a green means of transport (car or electric bike). Rather than letting your money sleep, you invest it in virtuous and potentially profitable projects.
  • Generally, crowd investing in ecological and / or energy transition projects it is a great way to make your money work in an ethical way.

The concept of carbon neutrality finds a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and their removal from the atmosphere through voluntary action. This does not mean zero CO2 emissions, but offsetting these emissions by sequestering carbon, for example by planting trees. We talk about carbon sinks to designate these natural reservoirs that have the ability to capture and store carbon present in the atmosphere: oceans, forests, etc.

Specifically, when a company wants to offset its CO2 emissions, it buys carbon credits from regulatory bodies. But this process is met with criticism. In fact, it is always better not to emit greenhouse gases than to redeem a good conscience by offsetting one’s emissions …

So, is there any hope that our savings will one day become carbon neutral? This is unfortunately unlikely. Of course, the rise of green finance makes it possible to finance ecological transition projects, and in parallel there are many solutions to decarbonise one’s savings. But our money remains an inherently polluting tool.

Despite this observation, it is not a question of being pessimistic: not only is ecological awareness growing stronger on the part of institutions and individuals, but there are also more and more means to ethically invest one’s money. You still have to learn new habits …!

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