Visiting the Philippines in 2018, Julie Pullen saw something that changed her life: climate change right before her eyes. She witnessed typhoons wipe out the floodplain and watched the residents rebuild—just in time for another typhoon to destroy the community again.
“That was a heart-wrenching experience, to see what they’re contending with and will continue to contend with as climate change accelerates,” she says. “That really galvanized me to do more around climate action.”
An oceanographer and meteorologist, Julie had been in the Philippines as a Fulbright visiting professor on sabbatical. When she returned to the US, she shifted her focus to climate action. She also met model, activist, and philanthropist Dawn Gallagher, and the two got to talking about the role that women’s financial empowerment can play in planetary stewardship.
Those conversations led to the creation of Women Power Our Planet, an organization dedicated to democratizing access to sustainable investing for women. Through large events, small groups, and collaborations with other like-minded organizations, WPOP helps educate women on making smart investments and banking guided by sustainability and climate action.
In just two years, the organization has:
- Hosted multiple events attracting hundreds of attendees
- Inspired hundreds of women to commit to shifting to sustainable banks
- Built a 5,000-subscriber following for its newsletter
In researching banks that were most committed to climate change, Bank of the West’s name kept coming up. Julie and others with WPOP switched to the bank in part because they admired its commitment to sustainability and action on climate change, as well as its support of organizations like Protect Our Winters and 1% for the Planet.
But there was something else, too.
“I was extremely impressed with how Bank of the West deploys their marketing budget in support of climate education,” she says. “As a climate scientist, I was salivating when I saw all that. It’s clear that the bank is committed to climate education and does an impactful job at it.”
Learn more about Bank of the West’s actions on sustainability here.