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Bank joins forces with Protect Our Winters

Sierra Sun staff

Bank of the West, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, has announced it is the first bank to join Protect Our Winters, a leading climate advocacy group for the winter sports community.

As a Summit Level Partner, Bank of the West will join some of the most recognized outdoor brands in pushing for systemic solutions to climate change.

“When you deposit money in the bank, it doesn’t just sit there, it goes out into the world and finances things,” said Ben Stuart, chief marketing officer at Bank of the West, in a release. “Your bank, and your deposits, can be a force for good. That’s why Bank of the West is making bold choices about what we do and don’t finance on behalf of the environment and teaming up with organizations, like Protect our Winters, that are taking action to protect our planet.”

Bank of the West announced in 2018, according to the Associated Press, that it would withdraw support from companies and businesses that are “detrimental to our environment and health.” The bank stated it would no longer do business with companies whose main activities are tied to oil and gas from shale and tar sands, along with no longer financing oil and gas exploration or production projects in the Arctic. Support of fossil fuels by big banks has been on the rise, according to the 2019 “Banking on Climate Change” report, which stated that 33 banks from Canada, China, Europe, and the U.S. have financed fossil fuels with $1.9 trillion from 2016 through 2018. The report was produced by the Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, the Sierra Club, and others.

“(Protect Our Winters) aligned with Bank of the West because it is one of the only U.S. banks taking action to combat climate change via sustainable financing practices.”— Mario MolinaExecutive director at Protect Our Winters

The Climate Impact Lab predicts the number of days at or below freezing in some of the most popular ski towns in the U.S. will decline by weeks over the next 20 years. As this reduction occurs, there will be a dramatic, negative impact on the local economies and industries who rely on these winter seasons — unless people act now to protect natural resources.

“(Protect Our Winters) aligned with Bank of the West because it is one of the only U.S. banks taking action to combat climate change via sustainable financing practices,” said Mario Molina, executive director at Protect Our Winters, in a release. “Bank of the West has proven to be an important ally to the outdoor sports industry. We’re excited to welcome them into our community. Their proactive action on energy transition issues makes them a natural fit with (Protect Our Winters’) mission.”

To kick-off this relationship, Bank of the West and Protect Our Winters have launched the #CaptureTheChange photo contest on Instagram to initiate conversations on how climate change is affecting the winter season. The contest, which will run until March 1, encourages consumers to think about the impact they’re seeing as a result of climate change, including the important areas they wish to preserve with more sustainable lifestyles.

To enter, participants should follow @Bankofthewest and @Protectourwinters on Instagram and post a photo in accordance with the official rules. Photos should show a winter experience and how it is, or could be, impacted by climate change. Winners will receive gear from select Protect Our Winters members.

For the full contest details and rules, visit changematters.bankofthewest.com/change/capturethechange-photo-contest/.


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