top of page

Barclays ESG: Leading the Way in Banking Sustainability

Why ESG Matters to Banking

The importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors to the banking industry is on par with their significance in other sectors. Banks have a vital role in the shift towards a low-carbon economy, as they are heavily engaged in funding and investing in various sectors, even those with high carbon emissions. As a result, banks are especially vulnerable to risks associated with climate change. To protect their financial stability, the overall economy, and the interests of shareholders, banks need to evaluate their climate change risks, establish strong risk management plans, seek out new sources of revenue, and ensure clear disclosures regarding climate-related matters.

Barclays Bank's Climate Strategy

Barclays Bank has been at the forefront of integrating climate strategies into their ESG agenda. According to their ESG report, In March 2020, Barclays announced its ambition to be a net-zero bank by 2050, making it one of the pioneering banks to set such a target. Their climate strategy comprises three key components:

  1. Achieving Net Zero Operations

  2. Reducing Financed Emissions

  3. Financing the Transition

According to Barclays' ESG Investor report, the bank has made significant progress towards its climate goals. In 2023, Barclays achieved a milestone by reducing its Scope 1 and 2 location-based GHG emissions by 51%, well ahead of their 2030 target of a 50% reduction. The bank continues to source 100% renewable electricity for its global real estate portfolio and has met its 90% Scope 1 and 2 market-based emissions reduction target, achieving a 93% reduction. Key contributors to these achievements detailed in the report include right-sizing their global real estate portfolio, implementing energy efficiency programs, electrifying company vehicles, and focusing on renewable electricity sourcing.

Barclays has implemented new policy restrictions to align with its climate change goals, setting clear expectations for its clients. Notable policies include:

  • No project finance for expansion projects or infrastructure projects primarily for expansion.

  • No direct financing to energy groups for expansion projects or infrastructure primarily for expansion.

  • By January 1, 2025, all energy groups must produce relevant information on their transition plans or decarbonization strategies.

  • From January 1, 2025, new or renewed financing for non-diversified groups, where over 10% of their total planned oil and gas capital expenditure is in long-lead expansion, will be by exception only.

Strategically, Barclays monitors its funded emissions and establishes goals by calculating the total balance sheet funded emissions within the scope using the PCAF Standard methodology. In addition, they utilize their BlueTrack™ methodology to define precise activity objectives, as outlined in their ESG report. Barclays' comprehensive approach to sustainability, including their use of diverse methodologies, internal practices, and policy regulations, underscores their commitment to becoming a net-zero bank. Their efforts not only advance environmental goals but also set a high standard for the banking industry. For more detailed information on Barclays' sustainability initiatives, follow this link: Barclays Investor Report


bottom of page