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Now Is the Time for Sustainable Banking

A GUEST POST BY ALEX HONNOLD
World Renowned Climber and Environmentalist


Over the years I’ve developed a Sustainability Tick List to help make sure I’m having as positive an impact on my community and the environment as possible. Perhaps the most significant item on the list is: Bank Responsibly – Banks use your money while it sits in your account, and they can invest it in all kinds of things that you as an individual wouldn’t personally support (without telling you), things like the ultra-polluting fossil fuel industry.

For years, I wanted to find a banking option that shared my values and was dedicated to transparency, allowing me to know exactly how my money was being invested. (After all, just because it’s in “their” bank doesn’t mean it stops being “my” money.) That’s why I was so excited to discover Ando. I’ve moved all my personal money into my Ando account because I share their commitment to Sustainable Banking.

That’s a relatively new idea, Sustainable Banking. What does it mean anyway?

First, a sustainability definition: Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own. This is the basic idea that we don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, but instead borrow it from our children. So how can banking help ensure sustainability?

This is where it gets tricky. Let’s say you do all the right “green” things–you recycle, install solar panels, drive an electric car, eat plant-based…the whole nine yards. If you do all those things but still park your money in a traditional bank, they could be (and probably are) loaning and investing your money to plastic manufacturers, coal companies, gas-engine car makers, and cattle ranchers. Your money is actually working against everything you believe in. The banking sector controls trillions of dollars, and where it invests and loans that money changes the course of the world. Yes, it’s that big a deal.

alex at homeAndo is the Sustainable Banking platform revolutionizing the financial industry by exclusively and transparently investing 100% of customer deposits into projects and companies committed to fighting climate change (solar energy systems, reforestation, green “building,” etc.). Ando, a Certified B Corporation, offers premium banking features, including a 1.5% cashback Visa Debit card (made from post-consumer recycled PVC), early access to paychecks, and up to $200 of overdraft protection. Also, Ando enables its customers to personally “divest” by guaranteeing customer deposits will never be invested in any facet of the fossil fuel industry.

When you bank with Ando, you help put an end to financing companies and products that harm the environment and our future. Given the trillions of dollars in play, Sustainable Banking can be the fastest, most efficient, and effective way to direct all that money toward stopping the effects of global warming and creating the sustainable future we envision for ourselves, our kids, and all future generations. (And since I’m about to be a new dad, the idea of “future generations” is suddenly a lot more real to me.)

“Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.”

JP McNeill, Ando’s CEO, loves to cite the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” We’re going to have to go far to save the environment, and joining the Ando community is the way we can take that journey together. Ando doesn’t want to keep the Sustainable Banking model for itself, quite the contrary. By proving that their model works–and it does, with 50,000 customers and adding thousands more every month–ideally other banking platforms and companies will follow suit and adopt the approach.

Our parents and grandparents didn’t have access to this kind of information, and people’s relationship to banking used to be a lot different. In the past, too many put blind trust in their bank–I was one of them. Ando doesn’t want to vilify traditional banks, as that won’t solve our environmental crisis. Ando is eager to work with companies of all sizes, driven by collaboration and cooperation.

Ando could have been launched as a non-profit to battle the climate issue, but instead was founded as a banking business. Why? Just as the infamous Willie Sutton said when asked why he robbed banks, “Because that’s where the money is.” There are trillions and trillions of dollars flowing through the banking sector right this very minute, not just in America but across the globe. Harnessing the power of that money to reduce emissions and reverse the devastating effects of climate change is the fastest route toward saving the environment. This is why Sustainable Banking is so important, why I signed up with Ando, and why I think you should, too.

 

Ando is a partner of Music Climate Revolution