Fossil fuels funded as Brits struggle to green money

Written by Lori Campbell on 25th Apr 2022

The world’s biggest asset managers are still funnelling billions into coal, gas and oil, a new report reveals, as only a quarter of Brits made greener financial choices in the past year. Meanwhile, Rolls Royce and Heathrow Airport join forces to bring hydrogen fuel to UK airports, England’s tallest wind turbine is to be built after securing £4 million in vital funding, and Energise Africa launches a new bond offer to finance solar power for low-income families in Cameroon. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.


World’s biggest asset managers funnelling billons into coal, gas and oil

Giant global asset managers are still funnelling tens of billions of pounds into new coal projects and hundreds of billions of pounds into major oil and gas companies, according to a new report.

The report by Reclaim Finance, an organisation disclosing financial sector investments in fossil fuels, found that collectively 30 asset managers have $82 billion (£64 billion) in companies developing new coal projects and $468 billion (£367 billion) in 12 major oil and gas companies.

Lara Cuvelier of Reclaim Finance said: “Is the asset management industry changing its investment practices in line with climate science, reducing investments in coal, oil, or gas expansion? Unfortunately, the answer is an emphatic ‘no.’ Leading asset managers are kicking the can down the road without even asking companies to stop worsening the climate crisis.”

Only a quarter of Brits made greener financial choices last year

More than half of Brits claim it’s important to them to be able to make greener financial choices, according to new research by RCI Bank.

Despite this, three quarters haven’t tried to make their finances greener over the past year and more than a third say they don’t think it is currently easy to do so.

The research found that of those who have tried to make their finances greener over the past 12 months, 27 per cent had opted to put money into green savings accounts. Around a third (31 per cent) had researched what their banks invest in to make sure they’re ethical, while 14 per cent opted for a green current account.

Tafari Smith, head of savings at RCI Bank said: ‘Our findings reveal both an appetite for green finance but also some barriers when it comes to accessibility and consumer priorities.”

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Rolls Royce and Heathrow partner to bring hydrogen to airports

Rolls Royce and Heathrow Airport are planning to bring hydrogen to UK airports as part of a government-backed initiative codenamed Project Napkin.

The companies are joined by aerospace giant GKN on a special committee considering how hydrogen-powered planes should be fueled in the years to come. Flying currently accounts for between two and three percent of global CO2 emissions. Last week, transport secretary Grant Shapps said he wanted to develop ways for Brits to fly “guilt-free”.

Members of Project Napkin, which also includes representatives from London City Airport and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, are believed to have been in talks with US giant Air Products and Chemicals, one of the world’s largest hydrogen producers, in recent weeks.

It comes as budget airline Ryanair says it will cut pollution from some of its Amsterdam flights by 60 per cent by using sustainable fuel derived from used cooking oil.

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England’s tallest wind turbine secures funding

The tallest wind turbine in England is to be built after securing a £4 million loan from Thrive Renewables.

Work on the site in a deprived area of Bristol is expected to start in June, with the 115-metre diameter,150-metre tip height turbine becoming operational in spring 2023.

The turbine, owned by community group Ambition Community Energy, will have a maximum capacity of 4.2MW – enough to power 3,000 homes and save almost 120,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over its lifetime. All profits from electricity sales will be reinvested back into the area, acting as a driver for regeneration.

The group also plans to build an Energy Learning Zone to inspire young people and provide training to upskill residents for zero carbon careers.

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Energise Africa launches new solar bond offer

Impact investment platform Energise Africa has launched a new bond offer to finance solar power for low-income families in Cameroon.

The 18-month bond has a minimum investment of £50 and targets returns of 7.75 per cent. Every £285 invested will enable solar power company upOwa to provide a life-changing solar home system to a family that was previously off-grid in Cameroon. In total, the project will provide 3,500 people with electricity.

upOwa is the leading ‘pay-as-you-go’ solar company in Cameroon and is on the way to become a leader of the solar sector in many Francophone African countries. The company has successfully installed more than 40,000 solar home systems across Cameroon, with the aim to reach one million by the end of 2024.

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