Greenwashing in British banks is pervasive

Almost half of the UK banks don’t focus on sustainability despite their ESG claims


Greenwashing in British banks is pervasive. Source: depositphotos

The researchers from Censuswide surveyed 150 UK banking executives to discover that only 59% of the banks measure their environmental impact as part of sustainability targets. At the same time, 100% of the executives say that sustainability is integral to their business strategy.

Besides, banks are increasingly offsetting non-sustainable practices with carbon credits. Almost half (49%) of UK banks are now investing in carbon credit schemes as a priority initiative. However, measures like that don’t help reach true sustainability. 

The surveyed executives cite three main barriers to true sustainability:

  • lack of universally recognised regulation and enforcement (31%), 
  • cultural legacies that need to be shifted, 
  • budget implications and limited market knowledge (25%).

Meanwhile, consumers pressure for ESG initiatives from financial institutions. For instance, another survey by consultancy Kearney shows that 40% of UK consumers would pay a 5-10% premium for a banking product if it was ESG. Some would even switch their banking providers to get access to sustainable products. 

Over nine in ten (97%) of UK banking executives say that ‘sustainable digitisation’ is the key to meeting both customer needs and ESG goals. They also believe in creating sustainable supply chains, ensuring their suppliers are compliant with current sector-specific sustainability expectations.


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Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.