What’s wrong with BARCLAYS?
Barclays has been Europe’s biggest investor in fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement, according to the Banking on Climate Change report, providing 36% more finance than the next worst European banker (HSBC). From 2016-19 the company invested $118.1 billion (£862 billion) in fossil fuels. It is the tenth biggest funder of fossil fuel expansion internationally.
At its AGM in May 2020, over 75% of Barclays shareholders voted against a resolution to end the company’s investments in fossil fuels.
Among the fossil fuel projects funded by Barclays are:
Bangladesh’s coal expansion
Barclays has provided funding for the Rampal Power Plant in Bangladesh. The plant threatens the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, a vital carbon sink that reduces CO2 in the atmosphere.
The Bangladeshi government plans to increase dependence on coal from 2.8% to 37% over the next decade.
According to Tonny Nowshin, a researcher at environmental and human rights organisation Urgewald, the pollution from the plant would cause low birth weight for 24,000 babies and premature death for 6,000 people.
Barclays has provided financial services worth millions to five beef and soy companies known for their links with deforestation. These include meat producer JBS, whose controllers confessed to bribing more than 1,800 politicians in Brazil in 2017.
Violations of Indigenous rights
Many of the projects that Barclays backs are linked to serious human rights abuses, including ongoing violations of Indigenous rights. These include the Dakota Access Pipeline and tar sands pipeline projects which will cross Indigenous territories.
If you want to switch to a more ethical account, Ethical Consumer magazine recommends Triodos Bank as its top pick, followed by Nationwide and Cumberland Building Societies and the Co-operative Bank (including its Smile brand)