Why I broke up with my bank and superannuation fund

17 April 2015
Why I broke up with my bank

I've mainly focused on sharing my journey to reducing plastic and waste on this blog for the past three years - after-all they are two areas I have tangible control over that will help reduce my environmental footprint and impact. Not supporting virgin plastic production with my wallet and changing my wasteful habits has been great... but it turns out I'm still supporting the gas and oil industry (*the main ingredients of plastic and both industries are huge greenhouse polluters*) by ignoring what the money in my bank and superannuation were funding – is it being wasteful and harming the environment too?

Turns out it is...and yours might be too!

Divestment. This two word have been creating ripples over the last year and for good reason - and I am about to get in on the movement.

Divestment is used to describe the process of moving your own personal money from a bank, credit union or superannuation fund that invests in non-sustainable industries like fossil fuels and invest in those that want to pollute less and protect more. 

Why?

Banks and superannuation funds use the money from everyday Australian's to invest in companies locally and around the world. Yep, our money is being moved about and funding incredibly damaging environmental practices. 

People are divesting for reasons beyond fossil fuels too. There are many financial institutions that don’t support the funding of the gambling industry, tobacco and poor labour standards to list a few.


So how do I find out what and who my bank or credit union supports?

Marketforces.org.au helps Australians to research what your banks support in terms of investments. It is simple and easy to use. Within fifteen minutes I was able to locate a bank that aligned with my values. There is a guide on how to switch banks. There is even a function to help you send a note to a banking institution demanding they make a change.

What about Superannuation?

Superswitch.org.au is a great resource on superannuation funds and their investments in Australia. Just as easy as the Marketforce website to use, with relevant guides to help you fund the right one for you plus tips on how to switch. 


Before I spend money on groceries or other items I consider the entire lifecycle of the item. Ultimately this is so I can try creating less impact on the planet and other people… So why should I let someone else spend my money on things that I don’t agree with? The people that have our money in banks or superannuation funds hold huge amounts of power and can send bold messages by not investing in fossil fuel projects and other unethical practices. 

I'm only one person with a tiny amount of funds. I am not a big company or institution with millions or billions of dollars. My decision won’t whip the evening news into a frenzy. But sharing my decision might inspire you. If each of us start moving our money, speaking up, and demanding more from our banks, credit unions and superannuations funds they'll have to make a change because they can't do anything if they don't have our money. 


*Please note, I won't disclose which bank and superannuation fund I have chosen - partly for privacy reasons but mainly so it encourages YOU to do your own research. I encourage you to find a bank, credit union or superannuation fund that works best for you, your money, and perhaps your community. 


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