— If you work for Wimbledon or Barclays, and you want to share your thoughts confidentially, email confidential@bankonourfuture.org now —

Wimbledon 2024 is being proudly sponsored by Barclays. But make no mistake, Barclays doesn’t care about tennis. Barclays is using Wimbledon’s shiny reputation as a distraction from its shadier investments. It’s called “sportswashing” and Wimbledon is being pulled into the crosshairs.

Barclays has some serious skeletons in the cupboard and it’s adding more by the day:

Barclays backlash so far and how it’ll hit Wimbledon

Multiple organisations like Christian Aid, Oxfam and the University of Cambridge are distancing themselves from Barclays to protect their reputations. Whole music festivals are boycotting Barclays. Barclays branches are even being covered in blood. This is why Barclays needs fresh reputational cover. So last year, Barclays started sponsoring the cleanest and shiniest tennis tournament in the world.

Barclays is throwing Wimbledon a few million (a rounding error to a huge bank) to act as a shiny distraction from the billions they’re feeding to dirty companies. But rather than challenging Barclays like all the other civil society organisations, Wimbledon is deciding to stick with Barclays, in full knowledge of who else Barclays is in bed with. This is extra surprising given that Wimbledon is seemingly very committed to sustainability.

Groups fighting against Barclays’ dirty financing are not letting it hide behind Wimbledon. That’s why this year, Wimbledon may get dragged into the fight and staff will be hoping it won’t be a repeat of last year, when major celebrities called on Wimbledon to drop Barclays. It was top read in major papers and took all the attention. Things could get just as bad this year if Wimbledon continues allowing Barclays to use it as a shield.

What is Barclays using Wimbledon to cover up?

Barclays talk a great talk about change. They have their new “green” fossil fuel policy. Their supposed due diligence around human rights. And apparently no tolerance for corruption. But it doesn’t take much to realise what they’re up to:

GazaBarclays is a major sponsor of the arms companies involved in Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Barclays has funnelled $7.6 billion into arming Israel for a genocide that has killed 14,500 children, and counting. Barclays knows all of this but is sponsoring Wimbledon to distract you from it.

Deforestation – Barclays is the biggest secret sponsor of meat giant, JBS. Barclays has fed $6.7 billion to JBS to help it destroy ancient forest in the Amazon whilst facing numerous allegations of political corruption and land grabbing. Last year, underage children were found working with dangerous chemicals for JBS. Barclays knows all of this. But is choosing to wash its hands of it.

Fossil fuels – Barclays is Europe’s #1 funder of the fossil fuel industry, since 2016. That’s billions to Shell and Exxon to allow them to continue their anti-climate lobbying, misinformation campaigns, constant human rights abuses, oil spills and unprecedented profiteering. Barclays knows all of this, but is deliberately carving out space in its energy policy to leave the billions to companies like Shell and Exxon untouched.

Fracking – Barclays carved out a special loophole to make sure it can keep providing billions to the US fracking industry. That includes companies like EQT, whose operations are being shown to be poisoning water, affecting children’s health and creating health problems in the community.

Sustainability – Barclays keeps talking about it’s sustainable goals. But it’s recently been shown that they’re riddled with holes that mean “sustainable” funding can go to aiding oil and gas extraction. It’s why Barclays’ own investors called their sustainability work “totally dishonest”. Barclays would rather talk a good game, than take real action.

So if you were wondering: Yes – Barclays are that bad.

What Barclays and Wimbledon needs to do to stop this

The ex-Chief Executive of the AELTC, Richard Lewis, said “We believe that Wimbledon, along with other major events, has a vital role to play in helping to protect the environment, today and for the future”.

If the current CEO Sally Bolton agrees with this, then now is the time to act. Wimbledon must use its commitment to sustainability and its position as the jewel in Barclays’ crown.

Wimbledon should drop Barclays unless Barclays immediately:

  • Ends all relationships with arms companies selling to or operating in Israel.
  • Produces a fossil fuel policy that reduces and eventually shuts off funding to climate and deforestation criminals like JBS, Shell and Exxon.
  • Strictly ends relationships with US fracking companies
  • Strictly ends relationships with any company using child labour