Bank of the West, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, released the results of its first-ever sustainable finance report, “Bank of the West’s Money Matters Report: Revealing the Sustainability Intentions Gap”, which surveyed business leaders and consumers to determine their perspective on sustainability issues and how that carries into behaviours, including their banking practices. The research reveals that 42% of business executives and 77% of consumers don’t know how their bank is investing their money.
“Conducting business sustainably is simply the right thing to do. Beyond that, sustainability has invaluable benefits for employee recruitment, retention and engagement, and a business’s bottom line,” said Ben Stuart, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Growth & Transformation at Bank of the West. “Through this study, we found that many business decision-makers believe their employer still has a long way to go to being a responsible company; finding a bank that meets those values and knows your industry is an important start.”
Business decision-makers, manager level or higher, report use of sustainable finance products drove increased profitability over the past two years, 21 per cent more than those who did not implement sustainable finance initiatives. Despite the recognised benefits, executing these sustainability practices prove to be more difficult as 30 per cent of business decision-makers say they are unsure how to truly make an impact. Similarly, consumers report they’re passionate about reducing the impact of climate change (79 per cent), and believe individuals can have an impact on climate change just by making small changes in their own lives and behaviours (87 per cent). However, only 15 per cent report that their bank currently addresses climate change.
“Consumers and business leaders alike are passionate about sustainability; what many don’t realise is the large impact they can make by choosing their bank wisely,” said Melissa Fifield, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability, Bank of the West. “A seemingly small action, like switching your bank account, can have a huge impact if you’re putting your money into an institution that aligns with your environmental values.”