This year, Bloomberg exposed a major Barclays blunder. Barclays sent oil and gas equity analysts to inspect the human rights implications of a heated oil pipeline owned by one of its biggest (and most brutal) fossil fuel clients TotalEnergies. Unsurprisingly, Barclays concluded that there was nothing to worry about.
Local activists were rightly furious that analysts without human rights experience were sent to make such an important judgement. After all, you wouldn’t send your plumber to fix a computer virus.
This poor judgement exposed a long-known open secret among Barclays bosses: The oil and gas companies that Barclays lends to (and underwrites for) are not just accelerating planet-wrecking emissions, but they’re committing human rights abuses to the communities around their projects.
📢42 CSOs & EACOP-affected individuals demand Barclays Bank retract the research paper containing falsehoods about the project. The report fails to acknowledge financial distress & violation of Article 26 of Uganda’s 1995 Constitution https://t.co/S0Y3qKj7P2 pic.twitter.com/TUaKOGuLZr
— StopEACOP (@stopEACOP) April 21, 2023
Barclays’ Blind Eye 👀
For example, Barclays’ friends from the dodgy pipeline above, TotalEnergies, are also extracting gas in Mozambique. It’s subject to huge controversy in the region. Total is committing a raft of human rights violations including forced land displacements, media manipulation and a silencing of local communities.
Barclays is aware of all of this. Yet it’s condoning the abuses through the unconditional $3.27 billion in lending and underwriting it’s provided to TotalEnergies, since 2016.
This mega gas project is a threat to local populations & the environment⬇️https://t.co/WJ2J7gZfC0
— Reclaim Finance (@ReclaimFinance) November 17, 2023
More and more attention is being drawn to the human rights impacts of fossil fuel companies and their financiers. In August, lawyers brought a case against the banks to the UN denouncing the impact of Saudi Aramco’s growing emissions on people’s right to health, clean air, and quality of life.
BREAKING: UN has warned Saudi Aramco and its banks for human rights harms caused by their contribution to the climate crisis. It comes after we accused oil giant Aramco of the world’s biggest climate-linked breach of human rights law by a business. https://t.co/d1CxgoA0pG
— ClientEarth (@ClientEarth) August 25, 2023
Barclays could be next in line to reckon with this.
Don’t forget the climate impact:
Barclays constantly promises investors, regulators, and customers that it is engaging the oil and gas sector to transition to clean energy. But the evidence proves otherwise.
Brand new data by Urgewald reveals the oil and gas growth that many of Barclays’ clients are planning, and how misaligned this is with the IEA’s net-zero emissions scenario, a goal that Barclays is using in its own climate strategy.
Barclays is knowingly bankrolling 7 out of the 10 worst fossil fuel companies in the world for unscientific fossil fuel expansion, including Shell, Exxon, and TotalEnergies.
Barclays has provided these 7 companies with over $33 BILLION since 2016 and works with them very regularly, facilitating the potential release of over 22 billion barrels of untapped oil and gas resources into production in the near future.
Barclays is bankrolling natural destruction and crimes against human rights. Barclays needs an ambitious restrictive oil and gas policy that ends financing and underwriting of oil and gas companies still exploring and producing new oil and gas which inevitably have major human rights implications.