Buddhist Action Month 2024: Mindful Money

June is Buddhist Action Month – BAM!

BAM began as a Buddhist Action Day in 2021, initiated by the Network of Buddhist Organisations UK as an opportunity to focus on the practical implications of living by your values as a Buddhist today. It soon became a month – June – inspiring practical action all year round.

For 2024 we’re suggesting a focus on ethical banking and investment, as the NBO’s compassionate contribution to the wider Mindful Money campaign.

Does the way we bank and invest our money fit with our values as Buddhists? What effect is our money having – on ourselves and the world?

It’s time to take a good look at the difference our money can make. This is the Mindful Money campaign.

Mindful Money
As Buddhists we are encouraged to cultivate and practise compassion for ourselves and our world and to reduce suffering wherever we can. We do this in many everyday ways. But how are our financial choices harming or benefiting the world? Are they an expression of compassion? Our bank may be using our money in a manner directly contrary to our values; in ways that cause serious harm to the planet, people and other living beings.

Many high street banks are major financiers of the coal, oil and gas projects which are directly responsible for the climate crisis. In 2022, the five big UK banks (Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Lloyds, and NatWest) provided £37 billion of financial support to fossil fuel companies [1].  These banks are also investing in things such as nuclear weapons, single-use plastics, old-growth forest clearance (often with associated human rights abuses) and poor workers’ rights.

It doesn’t have to be this way! We can switch to banks which actively create benefit and avoid harm, investing our money in areas such as community housing, energy projects, rewilding, and sustainable farming. For example, Triodos Bank, The Co-operative Bank, Charity Bank and Nationwide all have strong ethical policies. (To find out more, see Get Informed, top right on this page.)

If our money is causing harm, switching banks is an important form of compassionate action.

Let’s do this together, now, and send a powerful message to banks who invest without regard for the consequences for our suffering world.

Here are four main actions you can take:

1. Get informed
There are many sites online which will help you assess your bank’s ethics. For example:
See how ethical your bank is with this simple tool:  bank.green 
More information and information on each bank at Good with Money
And further detail here: Banking on Climate Chaos

2. Switch bank 
Use this current account switch service to change your current account simply and easily. 

3. Tell the bank why you’re leaving 
Here are letter templates for the big five UK high street banks: Barclays Template Letter, HSBC Template Letter, Santander Template Letter, Lloyds Template Letter, NatWest Template Letter.

4. Spread the word! 
Many people are understandably unaware of the harm their bank is causing with their money – and without their consent. They may also be unaware of the enormous good their money could do in the hands of an ethical bank. Tell your friends and share this page!

Thank you for your compassionate concern and your action on this issue.

[1] see Make My Money Matter