By: 22 April 2023

Tred is taking aim at the banks’ public environmental commitments, which are at odds with their fossil fuel investments

Tred calls out big banks ahead of Earth Day

Tred, a green digital bank, has taken aim at the big banks for their fossil fuel investments ahead of Earth Day. 

This week, the UK-based bank left “clean graffiti” outside branches of five big banks in Leeds city centre, where it is headquartered. 

Barclays, Santander, NatWest, HSBC and Lloyds were all in the firing line for their “polluting investment strategies”.  

Tred called out the banks, saying their public environmental commitments are at odds with their ongoing investment strategies.  

Image: Tred

The Fossil Fuel Finance Report shows that between 2016 and 2022, Barclays, Santander, NatWest, HSBC and Lloyds invested a collective £334b in fossil fuels—that’s £152m every day for six years.  

In 2022, the worst offender was Barclays (£13.3b), followed by HSBC (£8.9b) and Santander (£3.2b).  

Last year, HSBC was forced by the Advertising Standards Authority to remove adverts for greenwashing.   

In contrast, Tred claims to be carbon-neutral and has committed to never invest in fossil fuels 

Will Smith, co-founder at Tred, commented: “Companies are coming under more and more scrutiny for their environmental credentials, so big banks are getting savvier about keeping their dirty investments hidden.  

“With so much greenwashing out there, we hope that our campaign can help arm people with the facts and get them thinking about the impact that their money has on the planet, so they’re equipped to make financial decisions that match their values.” 

Peter Kirby, also a co-founder of Tred, added: “Tred exists to clean up people’s money and turn it greener, so clean graffiti—a perfectly legal process that involves removing dirt from streets using water and a stencil—is the ideal way for us to get our message across. 

“We know we might cause a bit of a fuss, but all we’re doing is sharing the facts. It’s nothing compared to the havoc climate change will cause if big banks continue investing in fossil fuels at this rate.” 

At the Innovate Finance Global Summit 2023 in London this week, a session on ESG and fintech declared inacation as not an option when it comes to the climate crisis.  

Another panel discussed how fintechs focused on payments should be driving financial sustainability. 

FinTech Intel has approached Barclays, Santander, NatWest, HSBC and Lloyds for comment. 

Image: Canva

Josh Poyser
Josh Poyser is an editor at FinTech Intel. He has written about fintech for several years and appeared at FinTech Connect 2023 on the 'Unlocking Success: The Art of Fintech PR' panel.