‘Green lenders’ are financial institutions who are effectively using your money to invest in companies and industries who do no harm to the environment. A bit like the way you might choose to use less plastic or buy more sustainably produced foods… these lenders want to do their bit.
.If you want to make more informed choices about what type of lender you are supporting, so you can select a green option next time you borrow, we have analysed lenders that we are accredited with here at Wilson Financial.
Bank Australia takes number one on the list for us! Bank Australia exists to create mutual prosperity in the form of positive economic, social, environmental and cultural impact. They believe in benefiting their customers, communities and the planet. Their money is regarded as clean because they never loan to industries that do harm, including; fossil fuels, live animal export, gambling, arms production or tobacco. In addition to this, all of their loans are subject to a Responsible Banking Policy.
Bank Australia have also recently introduced the Clean Energy Home Loan. If you are buying or building a NatHERS rated 7 Star or higher home, or planning sustainable upgrades, you could be eligible for a 0.40% p.a. discount off your interest rate for up to five years. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation are financing half this discount. They are also the first bank in Australia to have its deposit and home lending products certified 'responsible' by the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia, and they direct 4% of their after-tax profits to projects that help people and the planet.
They are the ONLY Australian lender listed in the ‘Don’t Bank On The Bomb’ report which you can read here.
To read more on responsible banking at Bank Australia you can click here.
Teachers Mutual believe in the power of responsible investment. Their focus is on ethical operations, taking action on climate change, offering socially responsible finance products and giving back to their community. They have been certified as both a climate neutral and climate conscious company by South Pole, the leading provider of global sustainability financing solutions and services. This certification means Teachers Mutual is a carbon neutral bank. For six consecutive years they have been voted one of The World’s Most Ethical Companies.
So… what about the big guys?
We dug up some data on the big four and a few of our other major lenders…
At the core of their framework is fair and responsible banking that is, keeping pace with the expectations of customers, employees and the community, behaving fairly and responsibly and maintaining high standards of conduct.
Some of the ANZ’s most recent goals are to;
- Fund and facilitate at least $15 billion by 2020 towards environmentally sustainable solutions for our customers, including initiatives that help lower carbon emissions, improve water stewardship and minimise waste.
- Encourage and support 100 of our largest emitting customers in the energy, transport, buildings and food, beverage and agricultural sectors to establish, and where appropriate, strengthen existing low carbon transition plans, by 2021.
- Reduce the direct impact of our business activities on the environment by reducing emissions, increasing renewable energy useage, reducing paper consumption in Australia and New Zealand, increasing recycling rates in our Australian commercial offices and reducing water consumption in our Australian commercial offices (>10,000m2) by 15% by 2020 (against a 2015 baseline).
The CBA recently introduced a new reward scheme for energy efficient home owners who install solar panels. This initiative, aka ‘The Green Mortgage’ initiative, sees customers provided with a $500 cashback when certified solar panels are installed. Apparently this is the first of many initiatives to come.
The environmental impacts from Macquarie Bank’s direct operations predominantly relate to the resources they consume in their offices, data centres, and from their air travel. Macquarie seek to manage these impacts by monitoring and reducing resource use, maintaining carbon neutrality, improving the sustainability of their supply chain and occupying and creating innovative and sustainable workplaces, through the implementation of their Environmental Management Plan.
Their steps to reduce resource consumption include energy efficiency measures, data centre virtualisation, waste recycling and water management programs across their global operations.
Through their focus on occupying sustainable workplaces they aim to design and construct new premises in line with sustainability best practice and, where possible, achieve accreditation such as 6 Star Green Star, LEED Platinum, BREEAM Excellent or equivalent.
Since 2010, they have maintained their carbon neutral commitment by reducing and offsetting the emissions from their energy use and business air travel. They do this by purchasing and retiring high quality voluntary certified carbon credits each year.
NAB are committed to understanding and managing the impacts and dependencies of their business on the environment. A few of their recent green achievements include a reduction of 43% in paper usage from 2015, making a $70b commitment to environmental financing by 2025 to help address climate change, and a commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 21% by 2025.
NAB are also increasing plans to provide environmental finance from $55 billion to a targeted $70 billion by 2025.They are Australia’s largest arranger of renewable energy finance and 69% of their energy financing portfolio in 2019 was for renewables. They have also committed to increasing their internal renewable energy consumption from 50% to 100% by 2025.
St George are committed to reducing the environmental footprint of their operations and as such have a range of green initiatives on the go. These include; offering staff free loans of up to $4,000 each year, which can be used for purchases such as solar hot water systems and energy efficient appliances, committing to reducing the amount of paper they use and buying it from forests that are managed sustainably and reducing their energy consumption by implementing a range of energy saving lighting options. They have also undertaken a range of initiatives to improve water efficiencies.
Suncorp conducts business in a way that protects and sustains the environment for current and future generations. Their Environmental Performance Plan focuses on decreasing emissions, reducing waste and creating a more sustainable workplace. In addition to this they are supporting ongoing transparency and regulatory reporting in regards to their impact on the environment. Suncorp has also committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 and increasing the use of renewable energy.
Westpac have published a huge amount of information on what they are doing on the green lending front. Here is just a snapshot of what we were able to pull up;
- Increase target lending exposure to climate change solutions from $6 billion to $10 billion by 2020
- Facilitate up to $3 billion in climate change solutions by 2020, e.g. green bond issuance and arrangement
- Support customers in the agribusiness sectors that are committed to net zero deforestation by 2020
- Help customers make their homes more climate-resilient and energy efficient by providing information on how they can make improvements to their home
- Give their customers the information they need to understand how they can make climate change conscious investments by disclosing the carbon intensity of investment portfolios and continuing to evolve our climate change disclosures
Not so much Green, but philanthropic, we wanted to give this smaller lender a shout out These guys are Tasmanian lenders who help local youth with accessible grants. They believe it’s the little ideas, local organisations and small acts that can help make a big difference in people’s lives and help build a richer Tasmanian community. The MyState foundation has been helping educate, support and nurture young people since 2001. To date they have awarded over $1.8m in grants to more than 80 not-for-profits across 200 different initiatives. They support organisations and charities who are engaged in education or development projects for young people; especially those who help develop self-reliance, provide opportunity for further education, increase financial literacy or assist young people living with a disability to access special education, care or support.
So there you have it… a look into how lenders are doing their bit to help the environment, the world, and their communities. Feel free to contact us for more information if we can be of assistance.