Mindful money

Where you bank Matters! 

As Buddhists we are encouraged to cultivate and practice compassion, both for ourselves and our world. Some of the ways we do this are well known to us, such as in our relationship with others, ourselves and the world.

But how are our financial choices harming or benefiting the world? Are they also an expression of compassion?

With no consultation with us our bank may be using our money in a manner directly contrary to our Buddhist values; in ways that cause serious harm to the planet, people and other living beings. 

Many high street banks are major financiers of the coal, oil and gas projects which are directly responsible for the climate crisis. In 2022 the five big UK high street banks (Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Lloyds, and NatWest) provided £37 billion of financial support to fossil fuel companies [1]. 

These banks are also financing industries like nuclear weapons, arms manufacture, single-use plastics and old-growth forest clearance; furthermore these projects are frequently associated with human rights abuses, and poor workers’ rights.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

The Mindful Money Campaign

The Mindful Money campaign is inviting individual Buddhist practitioners and their Dharma centres to become more aware of the impact of their banking choices, and to change their banking practices where necessary. . 

Some banks actively create benefit and avoid harm, investing their money in areas such as community housing, renewable energy projects, rewilding, and sustainable farming.

For example, Triodos Bank, The Co-operative Bank, Charity Bank and Nationwide all have strong ethical policies. (See below under Get Informed for more detail.)

Switching banks to an ethical one is an important form of compassionate action. It ensures our money is not being used to do harm in the world. It also sends a powerful chorus of disapproval to banks who invest simply for profit, without regard for the consequences for our suffering world. 

Here are some important actions you can take:

1. Get informed

There are many sites online which will help you assess your bank’s ethics. For example:

See how ethical your bank is with this simple tool:  bank.green 

Find more information and information on individual banks at Good with Money

Find detailed information here: Banking on Climate Chaos

2. SIgn the open letter to Dharma centres here  

3. Switch Bank 

Use this current account switch service to change your current account simply and easily. 

4. Tell the bank why you have left 

Here are letter templates for the big five UK high street banks: Barclays Template Letter, HSBC Template Letter, Santander Template Letter, Lloyds Template Letter, NatWest Template Letter.

5. Spread the word! 

Many people are understandably unaware of the harm their bank is causing with their money – and without their consent. They may also be unaware of the enormous good their money could do in the hands of an ethical bank. Tell your friends and share this page!

Thank you for your compassionate concern and your action on this issue.

[1] see Make My Money Matter 

This campaign is organised by XR Buddhists and TIpping Point’s ‘Bank Better’ 

Contact:  joseph.mishan@phonecoop.coop

Posts and articles are the views of their authors and not necessarily of the XR Buddhists group.

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