Hand holding sign reading 'Net-zero now. 2050 is too late.'

Most banks are still heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry and show few signs of getting out completely. So if they won’t clean up their act, it’s time for all of us to detox our bank accounts. It’s time for the #BigBankDetox.


Since the Paris climate agreement was signed in 2015, some of the world’s biggest banks – including Barclays and HSBC – have provided $2.7 trillion in financing for coal, oil and gas companies. And despite claiming to take the climate crisis seriously, they’re not moving fast enough so it’s up to us to act instead.


Those of us who are customers of these banks can consider closing our accounts and taking our business elsewhere. It will make a bold statement, particularly if you tell your old bank why you’re shifting.


But how do you actually move your money? It’s quicker and easier than you think. Most banks will redirect payments and direct debits in and out of your account, doing the hard work for you. You can have a fossil-free bank account in minutes.


Banks really care about their public image. They won’t take the climate crisis seriously until it starts to impact their reputation. Moving your money away from fossil fuel-funding banks – and telling them why you’re doing it – is an incredibly powerful action.


And it’s not just Barclays and HSBC – most banks are still tarred by fossil fuels. Follow the steps below to check if your bank is one of them.


Here’s what you need to do if you decide to move your account

1. Use SwitchIt to find out if your bank is still investing in fossil fuel companies (hint: it probably is). The site can also suggest alternative banks that won’t invest in fossil fuels, and have policies on a range of other environmental and social issues.
2, Closing your account will only have an impact if you let your old bank know why you’re taking your business elsewhere. They might ask for feedback or, if not, drop their customer service department a line to explain you don’t want to be associated with a bank that backs fossil fuels. Suggest they switch instead to funding green industries that provide secure jobs and clean energy.
3. Share your decision on social media, using #BigBankDetox. Tell everyone why you’ve made the move and how easy it was to do. Your personal experience can help inspire other people to switch banks as well.

Want to do more? There are plenty more ways to get Barclays, HSBC and other banks out of the fossil fuels game.