Finding New Zealand's Most Eco-Friendly Bank

Is your bank doing all that it can to make a difference for good? Banks are one of the most powerful ‘future creators’ in modern society. More or less they get to choose who they invest their millions (and billions) in, empowering some and squeezing others. They can also affect climate through their operational footprints and have significant opportunity to give back to communities through grants and other charitable activities. 

In this episode we delve into finding New Zealand’s most sustainable bank. Waveney has done some hard yards on this one! She spoke with financial experts from across the sector to devise a five point criteria and weighting system for assessment and then researched and contacted each bank to see how they performed in each category. Special thanks to Professor David Tripe, (Professor of Banking at Massey University); Barry Coates, (Mindful Money CEO); John Berry, (CareSaver CEO); CEOs and Heads of Sustainability within the banking sector that were happy to speak with me; and to the people seeking finance who shared their stories.   

The How to Save the World most sustainable New Zealand bank award (actually it’s just a shout out really, but it’s fun to say award) goes to the bank that was best able to demonstrate its performance across the following five criteria: 

Internal sustainability

Looking at the carbon footprint of the operations inside the big five banks including things like electric vehicle take-up in their fleet (shout out Westpac), getting 5 and even 6 Green star buildings (that’s Kiwibank]) sorting out green business procurement (ANZ and Westpac is using Fwd.) and ASB, Westpac and BNZ all getting Toitū Envirocare[] certification, for being carbon zero (well ASB & Westpac) or enviro mark gold (BNZ - making a start).

Corporate Responsibility

Looking at the social and environmental activity of the banks, how they treat their employers and what they’re doing for the wider communities they’re a part of. Including BNZ’s support of Kauri 2020 Trust and Westpac’s CoGo Partnership – a cool organisation making ethical living clearer and easier.

Investment and Lending Portfolios

Looking into where the bank’s are putting their money. Which banks still ‘fuel’ climate change by providing oil companies with capital? To check on your bank: 

  • Kiwi listeners: 350 Aotearoa (check out graph ‘Does your bank fund climate change?’) 
  • Australian listeners: Market Forces

And on the positive side, which banks are actively trying to make a positive difference? Some examples include BNZ who, since 2017 have facilitated NZ$2.875 billion of green and sustainable bonds []; SBS’ affordable housing products; Westpac’s interest free Warm Up Loan scheme to help add insolation and heat pumps and

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