Jul 21, 2020

Bank of the West: banking for climate change

Banking
Sustainability
Evelyn Howat
2 min
Climate Change
Bank of the West has partnered with 1% for the Planet to launch a checking account designed for action against climate change...

San Francisco based Bank of the West (a BNP Paribas company) announced yesterday that it has launched its first checking account that will be directly supporting global climate action in an effort to build a better future for the planet, the 1% for the Planet Account. 

1% of net revenues made from the account will be donated to not-for-profit climate change organisations at no cost to the customer. The first beneficiary will be Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit created in 2007 that focuses on legislation regarding the climate crisis.

"When you talk about climate change people are often at a loss as to what they can do personally to effect change," commented Ben Stuart, Chief Marketing Officer at Bank of the West. "The 1% for the Planet Account allows consumers not only to bank with a group that is progressive on energy policy and is striving to meet the demands of the Paris Accord, but also that donates 1% of the account’s revenue to address climate change at no cost to the consumer."

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 What are the key account features?

  • A 100% biodegradable/compostable debit card, “so when your card expires, it expires for good.”
  • A carbon tracking tool working with online banking, allowing customers to keep track of every purchase and its carbon impact
  • No monthly service charge when one deposit is made per statement, including no minimum balance and no direct deposit is required

Bank of the West’s release of this account is part of the company's movement to use more sustainable practices, this includes restricting financing acts that are harmful to the planet like fossil fuels, palm oil and big tobacco. 

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May 13, 2021

All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency

schools
energyefficiency
Renewables
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only UK regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil

Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.

Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.

“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."

He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."

North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).

The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.

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