Last week on the 22nd of April (Earth Day), Nedbank released an updated Energy Policy and Climate Change Position Statement. Our friends at Just Share wrote a fantastic breakdown of the significance of these two documents, so I won’t go into the details.
I’d like to focus on what these mean for the climate justice movement. We know that to address climate change we have to focus on dismantling the pillars of support of the fossil fuel industry. One of these is their financial support – the money that keeps them digging coal, and pumping oil and gas. Nedbank has essentially said that they are phasing out their support.
So where does that leave us?
With a fantastic opportunity! With one South African financial institution making such an ambitious statement, it means we have a stake in the ground. With a clear climate leader, we can campaign, advocate and lobby for other banks to follow suit. What does this look like? It will look different for different people and different parts of the movement.
If you bank with Nedbank, you could celebrate this move and encourage them to do more. If you have an account with another South African bank, you could ask them how their climate policy matches up, or even move your bank account to Nedbank (make sure to tell them why you’re leaving!).
At 350Africa.org we will use this in our work to make sure public finance institutions deliver similar or better commitments and act on them. You can follow our work here.
This doesn’t mean we’ve won – not a by a long shot, there is a long way to go to achieve climate justice, and even this move by Nedbank needs to be implemented. We do need to celebrate these achievements though – this is a small sign that collectively we are having an impact and that we are moving in the right direction.