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Statements from Barclays make the bank sound greener and greener - but the facts tell a different story

Whether on its website, in its annual Environmental Social Governance Report, via its Statements and policy positions, or elsewhere, Barclays misses no opportunity to present itself as a bank making strenuous efforts to help tackle climate change and ecosystem destruction. Under scrutiny, the claims begin to appear misleading, as shown in some examples here

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You'd never guess who was nominated for an award in the 'Green Finance' category?

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Luckily someone came to their senses and Sharklays didn't win - but what a completely ridiculous choice. A company who has invested $145billion in Fossil Fuels since the Paris Agreement in 2015. Reference here

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Barclays, Europe's largest fossil fuel financier, who asks *us* what world *we* will make possible whilst ploughing billions into fossil fuel projects & companies every year (most of the time with zero strings attached)

There is plenty of information on Barclays Greenwashing nonsense here

and plenty of bedtime reading on the Sharklays site here

  $118bn invested in the 5 years after Paris  .....   and counting. 

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Trash on Beach

“We have committed to aligning our financed emissions with the goals of the Paris Agreement, on the way to achieving our ambition to reduce those emissions to net zero by 2050.” 

Following that commitment, Barclays’ financing of fossil fuel firms increased. 

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Trash on Beach

“We are working in partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) […] Through a three-year, £5m partnership, Barclays is working with BLUE to advance conservation of the world’s oceans.”

Barclays is a major shareholder in the Bahamas Petroleum Company  who are pursuing oil offshore of Uruguay  and the Bahamas  (and many more onshore wells). Offshore oil spills devastate the marine environment, and wells disrupt ecosystems even when running smoothly. If Barclays cared about our oceans, it would not invest in companies jeopardising them, and would find more than £5m over 3 years to protect them – a sum less than 0.3% of its loans to major EU coal utilities alone over a much shorter period. 

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Land Mining

Jes Staley, Group CEO, Barclays 

“By 2025, we will no longer provide any financing to clients that generate more than 30% of revenue from thermal coal activities. [This] applies to the entity being financed, whether transacting with a group parent, subsidiary or joint venture.”

Applying a 30% revenue threshold to a parent entity excludes very few of Barclays’ existing mining and power clients – applicable to only 2 out of the 45 bond transactions undertaken in 2019, and only 9 of the 38 syndicated loans made in 2019.  Unlike some other banks, Barclays has set no final exit date for coal; in fact, between 2018 and 2020, it was the fifth largest lender in the world to the coal industry. Barclays' threshold-based restrictions - which amount to hardly any restriction at all - stand in stark contrast to the call to action from UN secretary-general António Guterres: 

"Today, I am calling on all governments, private companies and local authorities to take three steps [...] First, cancel all global coal projects in the pipeline and end the deadly addiction to coal. Second, end the international financing of coal plants and [...] third, jump-start a global effort to finally organise a just transition [for coal industry workers], going plant by plant if necessary."