Buddhists stage fossil fuel protest at bank

Barclays: “We are determined to play our part in addressing the urgent and complex challenge of climate change.

Friday, 20th May — By Anna Lamche

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ENVIRONMENTAL cam­paign­ers staged a sit-in at a branch of Barclays on Friday, claiming customers should be worried about its investments in fossil fuels.

The Extinction Rebellion Buddhists occupied the branch at Islington Green. Protesters were calling on customers to “change your bank!”

Joe Mishan, who had travelled to Islington from Hertfordshire for the protest, said: “Barclays are more invested in fossil fuel than any bank in Europe.

“Since the Paris Agreement in 2015, they’ve invested billions of dollars into coal oil and gas industries and projects around the world.”

Mr Mishan said few people give any thought to where they bank.

“Maybe your parents bank somewhere and you just say ‘I’ll do that,’ and you don’t realise you’re funding something which is not doing anyone any good,” he said.

Mr Mishan suggested switching to a sustainable bank, such as the Dutch bank Triodos.

“It’s just like an ordinary bank, but they fund wind farms, small businesses, social projects – they actively try to use your money in a way which benefits people and the planet,” he said.

Charity Bank and the Ecology Building Society are other examples of banks that “actively seek to use your money in a way which is beneficial to the planet,” Mr Mishan said.

A Barclays spokesperson said: “We are determined to play our part in addressing the urgent and complex challenge of climate change.

“In March 2020 we were one of the first banks to set an ambition to become net zero by 2050, across all of our direct and indirect emissions, and we committed to align all of our financing activities with the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement.”

They added: “We have a three-part strategy to turn that ambition into action: achieving net zero operations, reducing our financed emissions, and financing the transition.

“In practice, this means we have set 2030 targets to reduce our financed emissions in four of the highest emitting sectors in our financing portfolio, with additional 2025 targets for the two highest-emitting sectors – energy and power.

“We have also provided over £60billion of green financing and we are investing our own capital – £175m – into innovative, green start-ups.”

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