The Worst Banks in America for Climate in 2022

Smoke, Chimney, Pollution, Smoking

Some banks are doing better than others when it comes to sustainable practices, and unfortunately, a few banks are really falling short.

These banks are contributing to severe damage to the planet, and would likely need to make substantial changes to be considered environmentally responsible. 

This guide will discuss the worst banks in America for the climate, why they are falling short, how they could improve, and where you can find more eco-friendly alternatives.

What makes a bank climate-friendly?

If you’re trying to decide if a bank or financial institution is eco-friendly, there are a few things you can keep an eye out for. 

First and foremost, you want to make sure the bank is actually environmentally friendly and isn’t just “greenwashing” their policies. Some banks will claim to be green, but they aren’t really doing anything to help the environment. You can check out the bank’s website or look for certification from a third-party organization.

Another thing to look for is sustainable banking practices. This includes things like renewable energy, green architecture, and using recycled materials. 

You can also check to see if the bank offers environmentally friendly products, such as paperless statements, loans for eco-friendly businesses, or fossil-fuel-free investment options

The bottom line is that not all banks are created equal when it comes to the environment. If you’re looking for a bank that’s good for the planet, make sure to do your research and choose one with sustainable practices.

How to spot a bank contributing to the climate crisis

With so many financial options out there, it can be tough to assess the sustainability of a particular bank or financial product. 

If you’re looking to avoid institutions that aren’t prioritizing the environment, here are a few tips on how to identify them:

  • Check the bank’s sustainability track record via their website or reports from independent organizations.
  • Take a close look at the bank’s environmental policies: Do they use renewable energy, recycle, or invest in green architecture?
  • Are the products and services that the bank provides accessible for eco-friendly businesses? 
  • Does the bank offer any incentives for environmentally-friendly behavior, or offer green loans?
  • How does the bank invest its funds? Is the bank associated with the coal and gas industries?

The worst banks in America for the climate (and where to bank instead)

Now that you know what makes and doesn’t make a bank environmentally friendly, let’s take a look at some of the least climate-friendly banks in America in 2022. 

Wells Fargo 

Wells Fargo is one of the biggest banks in America, and it’s also one of the least environmentally friendly. 

The company has been criticized for its lack of sustainability, and it has failed to make significant progress in this area. 

Wells Fargo has invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline, been accused of funding climate change denial and has poured a massive $223 billion into fossil fuel industries over the last five years. 

What they could do better: In addition to divesting from fossil fuel investments, Wells Fargo could start by investing in renewable energy, using recycled materials, and supporting green architecture. The bank should also consider offering paperless statements and loans for eco-friendly businesses.

JPMorgan Chase 

JPMorgan Chase is another big bank that’s majorly falling short when it comes to the environment. 

The bank has invested in several oil and gas projects and has been extensively criticized for its lack of sustainability. JPMorgan Chase also ranks low when it comes to environmental policies.

What JPMorgan Chase could do better:

  • Increase its investment in renewable energy
  • Become more transparent about its environmental policies
  • Focus on sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives

Citibank

Citibank is one of the worst banks in America for the climate. Due to its heavy investment in fossil fuels, it has consistently scored low grades from environmental organizations like Greenpeace and Carbon Tracker Initiative.

In addition to being bad for the environment, Citibank’s investments in fossil fuels are also risky. Fossil fuel reserves are becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to extract, and a growing number of investors are recognizing the inherent financial risk in investing in them.

What they could do better: Citibank should aim to invest in more renewable energy projects and increase its commitment to sustainability. The bank should also make it easier for customers to green their finances.

Bank of America 

Bank of America (BOA) is another big bank that’s falling short when it comes to the environment. The bank has invested in palm oil, a crop linked to deforestation and climate change. BofA has also helped finance the Dakota Access Pipeline, transporting crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

What they could do better: Bank of America could invest in renewable energy projects, like solar and wind power. They could also stop financing harmful fossil fuel projects and invest in sustainable practices.

Why do these banks rank so poorly? 

  • They’re falling short on several necessary sustainability measures
  • They continue to invest in dirty energy sources like coal and oil.
  • They have failed to disclose their emissions adequately.
  • Their policies encourage high-emitting behaviors like flying and driving.

Where to find eco-friendly alternatives

If you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly bank, luckily there are a number of options available. 

Some banks have committed to sustainability, while others focus specifically on eco-friendly initiatives. Here are a few of the best banks for the environment:

  • Aspiration 
  • Amalgamated Bank
  • HSBC 
  • PNC Financial Services Group 

Each of these banks has committed to sustainability, and they offer several environmentally friendly products and services. They also have strong environmental policies and invest in renewable energy projects.

If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly bank, these are some of the best options available. 

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How to find the right bank for you 

The right bank can make all the difference when it comes to your finances. Not only will you have access to a variety of products and services, but you’ll also be able to get excellent customer service and peace of mind knowing that your money is safe.

However, not all banks are created equal. Some are better for certain people than others. And, when it comes to the environment, some banks are much better than others.

If sustainability is important to you, be sure to prioritize finding a bank that is as committed to the environment as you are. 

The benefits of switching banks for the climate

With the majority of America’s banks falling short regarding their policies and practices relating to climate change, the good news is that there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives out there. 

Here are just some of the benefits of switching to a neobank such as Aspiration:

Support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects

When you bank with an institution that supports renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, you’re driving demand for these types of projects. That means more jobs in the sector and fewer emissions from traditional power plants.

Make your money go further

Some of the best eco-friendly banks have lower fees and higher interest rates than the big banks. So you can feel good about saving the planet while you save money.

Be part of the solution, not the problem.

When you bank with an institution that’s harming the environment, you’re contributing to the problem. But when you bank with an eco-friendly institution, you’re helping it become more sustainable.

Support sustainable banking and help promote positive change.

By switching to an eco-friendly bank, you’re telling the institution that you want it to do more for the environment. That sends a powerful message, and it can help motivate the bank to make even more significant strides in sustainability.

Aspiration is a company that strives to make the world a better place

Here at Aspiration, our carbon-neutral Aspiration Zero credit card helps you to neutralize your footprint and earn up to 1% cashback. Use your rewards to plant more trees or receive a statement credit.

Every time you swipe Aspiration Zero, we plant trees to reduce your carbon footprint — and give you extra cashback rewards once you get down to zero. 

There are many ways this product will help people live healthier lives while minimizing their environmental impact. 

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