Barclays responds to our Divest! campaign
November 18, 2014
After receiving a response from Lloyds last week, Barclays is the latest big-name bank to address your concerns surrounding their involvement in fossil fuels.
Here’s what David Wheldon, Managing Director of Brand, Reputation, Citizenship, and Marketing, had to say on Barclays behalf:
“Thank you for your email regarding Barclays’ and other banks’ involvement in the fossil fuel sector.
We agree that development of a sustainable energy mix that will meet the power needs of national economies in the long term is vitally important for our planet and its peoples. The move towards a low carbon economy is a political, economic, technological and industrial challenge which has to be met if we are to address inevitable climate change and prevent further damage.
Barclays has a longstanding commitment to understanding the environmental and social risks associated with our financing activities: these are supported by stringent environmental and social impact assessment policies and practices together with risk escalation procedures.
These standards are applied across the business and are an integral component for decisions with potential for material environmental impacts. They require we give careful consideration to such impacts before decisions are approved. When we are asked to finance a specific development project, including those relating to the fossil fuel sector, we apply the Equator Principles – detailed environmental and social criteria applicable to project finance which require identification, assessment and mitigation/management of environmental impacts. Further information about the Principles can be accessed via the link: http://www.equator-principles.com/ . Currently 80 financial institutions from 34 countries have adopted the Principles, covering 70% of international project finance debt in emerging markets. Barclays was a member of the original group of banks which drafted the Principles and adopted them in 2003.
As well as managing the environmental risks associated with our business, we are developing expertise and pioneering financial products and services to help our clients respond to the environmental issues and challenges they face. For example, the Barclays Indices Team partnered with MSCI (a leading provider of investment decision support tools) to launch a suite of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) indices for clients who want to apply socially responsible investment factors in their bond portfolios. We also recently announced our commitment to taking the value of green bonds in our own liquidity pool to £1bn by November 2015. The green bonds in which we are investing are all investment-grade, fixed-income instruments, the proceeds from the sale of which are ring-fenced by issuers to fund environmentally-friendly projects and the deployment of low carbon technologies in power generation and transport.
Finally, our support for the renewables sector is outlined on p36 in our latest Citizenship Report. In 2013, we helped direct £4bn of financing in the clean energy and clean technology sectors globally. See the following link for more information: http://www.resources.barclays.com/citizenshipreport/downloads/pdf/barclays-citizenship-report-2013.pdf
Do you think Barclays is up to the challenge of preventing climate crisis? You can read our reaction to Barclays‘ response here.