A quarter of Barclays customers say they would consider switching banks if it doesn’t take more ambitious climate action, according to a new survey, as one report calls the bank the “worst in Europe” for financing fossil fuels.
The survey commissioned by the campaign group 38 degrees and shared exclusively with the independent found that 26 per cent of the bank’s clients said they would likely consider moving their money if it did not come up with a more ambitious plan than its proposed climate strategy which is due to be voted on at its annual general meeting in Manchester on Wednesday.
That plan includes a 2020 ambition to be net zero by 2050 and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, known as Scope 1 and 2 emissions, by 90 percent compared to 2018 levels by the end of 20. It also plans to get 100 percent renewable electricity. for your global operations at the same time.
The 90 percent reduction does not include so-called ‘scope 3 emissions’ which come from all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain, such as employee commuting.
The strategy also says that the bank aims to reduce financed emissions in the power, energy, cement and steel sectors by the end of 2030, including reducing total energy emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3) by 40%. percent. By 2023, the plan says the bank aims to finance no new clients engaging in thermal coal mining and no finance existing clients generating more than 30 percent of revenue from thermal coal mining.
But some customers aren’t convinced it goes far enough.
“It’s great that Barclays bosses sit there and look at their balance sheets at the end of the year and see how much money they make,” said a customer and supporter of 38 Degrees, according to the group.
“But unless they start balancing their books with the environmental destruction their investments are causing, I will close my account.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday a group of protesters gathered outside the AGM meeting venue to demand that the bank stop financing fossil fuels. Extinction Rebellion later said it had disputed the Barclays AGM.
Protesters also disrupted the Standard Chartered bank’s General Shareholders’ Meeting that was taking place in London on Wednesday. A Standard Chartered spokesman declined to comment on the protest.
The disruptions follow a similar stunt at the HSBC AGM on Friday, in which an ABBA flash mob began singing during the chairman’s speech.
A statement by Fossil Free London, a group campaigning for a London beyond fossil fuels, cited the latest Fossil Fuel Financing Report. which found that Barclays is “the worst” bank in Europe for financing fossil fuels in the six years since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. The Paris agreement aims to keep the rise in average global temperatures “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, ideally no more than 1.5C, compared to pre-industrial levels.
According to the Fossil Fuel Financing Report, produced by the Rainforest Action Network and other groups, Barclays financed $167bn (£133bn) of fossil fuels between 2016 and 2021 and is the seventh “worst” bank globally for fossil fuel financing. fossil fuels.
Ros Rice, a Liverpool protester who was planning to join the demonstrations said: “We taxpayers bailed out the banks in 2008 and now they are thanking us by leading us to destruction with a huge investment in fossil fuels.”
“They couldn’t be more insensitive.” Rice said in the statement issued by Fossil Free London.
Last month, the latest chapter of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found that global greenhouse gas emissions will have to peak before 2025 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.
“It is an archive of shame, cataloging the empty promises that put us firmly on the path to an unlivable world,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, launching the new report. “We are on a fast track to climate disaster.”
the independent has contacted Barclays for comment.
The poll was conducted by JL Partners, a polling company, which polled a representative sample of 1,033 people in Britain on April 28, the data weighted by age, gender, region and previous vote, said 38 degrees. The survey asked people to select the institutions they bank with, and 17 percent of respondents chose Barclays.