Barclays is the biggest bankroller of the fossil fuel industry in Europe, since 2016. In fact, as you read this, it’s pouring billions of dollars into the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. But all the while, Barclays claims to be leading in sustainability practices.
Here’s three dirty things that a bank “committed to sustainability” shouldn’t do:
In bed with Shell
Shell is one of Barclays’ many dirty big secrets. Shell are profiteering from *takes deep breath*: violations of human rights, shocking cases of environmental destruction, misinformation campaigns and huge anti-climate lobbying. Oh, plus complicity in murder, rape and torture in the Niger Delta.
The three amazing things about all this is that 1) Barclays knows all of the above 2) Barclays has provided Shell at least $6.7 BILLION since the Paris Agreement and continues to provide it cash 3) Barclays is calling some of this funding “sustainable”:
Barclays has classified a $10bn revolving credit facility that it created for Shell as “social and environmental financing” despite the company continuing to invest in new oil and gas.
— Wil Crisp (@bilgribs) August 7, 2023
Sound like something a sustainable bank would do?
Ever heard of Adani?
Adani, the world’s biggest coal producing company, LOVE Barclays. Coal is the most damaging fossil fuel and Adani is planning to produce more of it than you can dream of. However, for every fossil fuel bond Adani has taken to market in the last few years, Barclays has helped arrange every single one. That means Barclays has facilitated over $8 billion to Adani, and Barclays has thrown its own $1.7 billion on there too, just for good luck.
Just so nothing is left in the subtext, Adani (Barclays’ BFF) is embroiled in *takes deep breath* violations of human rights, doing business with criminal juntas, plans to mine billions of tons of coal beneath ancestral forests in India, rampant exploitation of its workforce, and more recently, financial mismanagement causing massive fluctuations in their valuation.
Again just for clarity: Barclays knows all of this. And as you read this, Barclays is funnelling a few more hundreds of millions Adani’s way.
Four little letters, tonnes of fossil fuels: PCAF
Barclays doesn’t just lend billions of dollars to fossil fuel companies. It also helps fossil fuel companies get billions more from other places. PCAF are the organisation in charge of deciding how responsible a bank should be for the environmental destruction created when they help a fossil fuel company get cash from other places. Should the bank be as responsible as all the other parties for the damage caused? Or less?
Barclays are part of a group of banks that have successfully lobbied PCAF to only count 33% the emissions on their books. That means when Barclays helps a fossil fuel company get billions of dollars to do climate damage, it’s now only responsible for 33% of the emissions created.
Whether you think this is fair or not, here’s the kicker: For any sustainable projects, Barclays take 100% responsibility when they arrange the cash.
Smell that? Yep, it’s a big stinkin’ double standard. And it’s not what a sustainable bank should be doing.
So what have we learnt? Barclays may recycle, have great targets, use paper straws, ask people not to print, and talk a big game on sustainability. But it’s bankrolling the climate crisis, $190 billion’s and counting.
If you work for Barclays and want to share how you feel about this, completely confidentially, email [email protected]