Rishi Sunak should use his upcoming Budget to enable the Bank of England to shift billions of pounds away from fossil fuels and towards a green recovery, tens of thousands of people told the Chancellor today.
A petition organised by campaign groups Positive Money, SumOfUs and 350.org, and signed by nearly 65,000 members of the public, delivered to Rishi Sunak today urges the Chancellor to make sure the Bank of England and the banks it regulates stop funding the climate crisis.
Sunak is expected to make highly anticipated updates to the Bank of England’s mandate to include a greater focus on climate, alongside next week’s Budget. It is currently unclear exactly what this mandate change will look like, but campaigners are calling for the new wording to ensure that the Bank of England:
Get its own house in order: The Bank of England stops subsidising the dirtiest sectors of the economy through its policies, such as its £20bn corporate bond purchase scheme, which is currently aligned with 3.5C warming, and involves the Bank buying debt issued by the likes of Shell and BP
Stops the banks it regulates fuelling climate breakdown: The Bank of England uses its regulatory toolkit to prevent UK banks pouring billions of pounds into risky fossil fuel projects
Provide more funding for green alternatives: The Bank of England works with the Treasury to instead support investment in sustainable job-creating projects, by helping to fund a National Infrastructure Bank, and introducing green incentives to its Term Funding Scheme, which provides cheaper funding to lenders
The petition echoes a letter Sunak received from 125 leading experts in November, which outlined three key changes to existing Bank of England schemes to allow Britain’s central bank to support a fairer and greener recovery from the Covid crisis.
As the institution tasked with overseeing Britain’s financial system, the Bank of England has a critical role to play in ensuring hundreds of billions of pounds are shifted away from fossil fuels and channeled into the green transition. But Britain’s central bank is currently falling behind its counterparts in other countries, such as Switzerland and Sweden, which have started excluding unsustainable assets from their market-shaping monetary policy operations.