As the United States cautiously re-opened this summer, many people had questions about returning the world as it was. The first post-lockdown summer earned the unenviable distinction of being the hottest ever recorded. July 2021 was the planet’s warmest July ever, with ever more examples of the climate crisis’ dangerous extremes, from megafires of epic proportions, such as California’s Dixie fire to Italy’s record-breaking rain—events that provide ample incentive to get serious about climate goals.
As the financial industry will play a major role in meeting climate targets, companies like Ando are working to deliver convenient ways to ensure your money gets invested in industries you support. They’ve developed an app that gives customers immediate control over how they direct their funds for the greatest environmental impact.
Green banks – financial institutions or facilities dedicated to accelerating the shift to a sustainable economy – drove a record amount of clean energy investment last year. According to the Coalition for Green Capital and 2020’s Green Bank Industry Report, the total investment in clean energy was $7 billion. Initiatives like the Net-Zero Banking Alliance aim to help banks across 27 countries reach net-zero carbon emissions across their lending portfolios by 2050.
But until recently, consumers haven’t had many direct options to make sure their personal assets were supporting sustainable causes. “Within Ando’s app, we have an Impact Center, where we encourage customers to see how much Ando has funded green initiatives—$12.2 million so far,” says JP McNeill, Ando’s CEO. He explains that Ando’s loans for commercial and residential clean energy have already generated 8.7 million pounds of CO2 savings annually.
Green lending currently represents less than 2% of all loans globally. To hit the U.N.’s emission reduction target of capping global warming at 2 degrees Celsius, annual global emissions will need to be reduced by 50% within the next decade. “That’s going to be challenging, but [that] is exactly why Ando was founded,” McNeill says. According to the International Energy Agency, global investments in renewable energy projects need to reach $5 trillion a year by 2030 to meet these emission targets.
Other financial services providers with a focus on sustainability, such as Aspiration, say they won’t put customer funds with banks that invest in the fossil fuel industry, a practice that is common among even private and commercial investment banks pledging to achieve “net-zero” financing. “Aspiration avoids investments in fossil fuels,” McNeill says. “Ando not only does that, but directs funds to where they are needed most: Exclusively green investments.”
Though green banking apps like Ando get most of their subscriptions from word of mouth and app store downloads, big-name environmental advocates like Alex Honnold of “Free Solo” fame also support Ando, for the ease in which it allows like-minded outdoorsmen to support initiatives they care about, while separately supporting clean energy access.
For Honnold, a sense of obligation towards environmental advocacy came naturally, thanks to hours spent outdoors on climbing expeditions, as well as witnessing first-hand the impact humanity has had on the natural world. “As a climber, I spend tons of my time outside, often in some of the most beautiful mountains on Earth: It’s only natural to want to protect such places,” Honnold says, acknowledging that many climbers share his commitment to being environmentally conscientious. “But the big realization was that my actions mattered, and I could actually make a small difference. That’s what encouraged me to start the Honnold Foundation, and take personal actions in my life.”
Some examples include making small daily choices that can ultimately affect greater change – such as the elimination of meat and dairy from his diet, because of their negative environmental impact – and pledging his commitment to green banking via Ando. “Access to energy is the first step in the other initiatives that Ando supports, [because] energy underpins so many other human needs,” Honnold says. “Electricity changes the way that people move, build, and grow things – for example, the use of pumps to move water. The transition to renewable energy will be the defining issue of my generation, and it has the most obvious impact on climate.”
Ando is Sustainable Banking. Ando invests 100% of customer deposits in green initiatives exclusively, like renewable energy and regenerative farming, allowing users to have the single greatest individual impact on reducing carbon emissions and healing the planet. Ando also embraces transparency, always sharing where investments are being made, providing customers a window to the transformative power of their money. These are just two reasons why banking with Ando is the easiest way to fight climate change. Plus, Ando offers a full suite of industry-leading banking features like an easy to navigate app, early paydays, easy transfers, paid referrals, 24/7 security, and overdraft protection, with no fees for anything, ever. With Ando, changing the world can be as easy as changing where you bank. Ando banking services provided by Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more.
This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Sustainable banking is an important part of addressing climate change on Nov 30, 2021.