Barclays Plc

Barclays, headquartered in London UK, is a globally operating bank engaged in retail, corporate and investment banking. Whereas Barclays is not a participant of the UN Global Compact nor the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, the bank is committed to the Equator Principles (EP) and has been actively involved in their formulation. Hence, Barclays PLC has been reelected to the EP Steering Committee and participates among others in the ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Social Risks’ working groups. Their commitment to the Equator Principles obliges them to conduct environmental and social impact assessments for project financings exceeding certain threshold criteria.

Barclays has issued sector specific lending guidance for sensitive sectors such as mining, oil and gas, power generation and pharmaceuticals on how to mitigate risks in their business operations, but specific details of these are not published. Furthermore, while Barclays asserts that it continues to “integrate environmental considerations into business decisions in line with our commitment to environmental sustainability”, the bank limits this commitment to “all applicable environmental legislation” in the country it operates in. This reflects its involvement in the issuance of shares and bonds for fossil energy providers, with almost €4 billion of newly issued shares and bonds for Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and Vattenfall since January 2012. According to the World Development Movement, Barclays has been participating in the financing of coal projects totalling £3.1 billion since 2005, thus contributing to environmental degradation and climate change.

Defence:  Barclays claims to “ensure that defense exports financed by Barclays are not used by foreign authorities either to oppress their own populations or to support unjustified external aggression”. The policy also states that trade in, or the manufacturing of, nuclear, chemical, biological and other mass destruction weapons are not financed, and it abolishes business affiliations with the manufacturers of landmines, cluster bombs and cluster munitions. Yet, Barclays has financial affiliations with Rheinmetall, associated with weapon exports/production to/in countries that violate human rights, including tanks, artillery ammunition and riot-control weapons and which has recently announced the opening of a tank factory in Algeria. Barclays manages shares and bonds customers for other major players of the weapon industry, such as Lockheed Martin, ATK and Elbit Systems, companies that produce nuclear weapons, cluster munitions or other weapons under criticism like drones and autonomous weapons and violate ethical norms by supporting authoritarian regimes. Barclays currently has an estimated US$ 3,401.00 million invested or available for nuclear weapons producers.

Human Rights: Barclays has stated that the application of its Human Rights principles are merely “aspirational”, with the bank having the “desire to respect and promote human rights within our sphere of influence”.

Total Revenues 2013: €44,207 million1

Total Revenues: 2012: €42,603 million2

Total Assets Managed 2013:  €1,571,833 million3

The above policy information is extracted from the Dirty Profits 3 report published in December 2014.

Detailed data related to investments in companies from 2012-2014 is available in Dirty Profits 3 and to download here

  1. []
  2. []
  3. []