Barclays surges past carbon reduction target

Barclays is now beginning to shift its focus to supply chains and scope-three emissions after the British bank's latest sustainability report reveals it has reduced its carbon footprint by 37% - far exceeding a two-year target of a 10% reduction.

In its 2015 Citizenship Plan, the bank reveals that carbon emissions have reduced by 37.3% against a 2012 baseline. The company reduced energy consumption by 176,316 MWh last year alone, primarily through sustainable development funding and carbon-offsetting initiatives.

Barclays has also reduced energy consumption across its operations by 148GWh over the past three years.

Speaking of the group’s broader Citizenship Plan ambitions, Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said: “I want Barclays to be a bank where our employees choose to work because they believe in the institution, and its intrinsically valuable role in society. This is a mind-set I want to reinvigorate in everyone at Barclays, from branch colleagues working on the high street in Manchester, to the M&A banker in New York.”

The Citizenship Report also reveals that waste at Barclays reduced by 9% in 2015. The total waste produced by the firm (excluding facilities and branches in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific) stood at 14,770 tonnes for 2015 – a reduction of 1,425 tonnes from 2014.

The 2015 report marks the first time that Barclays had captured relevant environmental data from its top suppliers. The bank is still actively encouraging suppliers to implement Environmental Management Systems to promote best practices with Barclays with the aims of setting targets, reducing footprints and improving report transparency.

The bank also revealed that, from 2016, it will begin to capture and report on all Scope-three emissions which is currently limited to air travel, private and hire cars for UK and South Africa operations and taxi and rail travel in the UK. Currently these emissions are only based on coverage assumption from the travel providers.

Funding transition

Barclays has responded well to the ongoing shift away from carbon emitting in fuels. Shortly after receiving an online letter along with other major banks, urging them to divest away from fossil fuels, the bank agreed a €44m term loan for a Waste to Energy plant in Dublin. That 68MW capacity plant diverts 600,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from Irish landfills each year and provides clean renewable energy for 80,000 nearby homes.

The firm has also explored the used of carbon credits to help drive down emissions. The Kasigau Corridor project in Kenya, for examp]le, has seen Barclays purchase carbon credits in exchange for funding reforestation schemes in the area. As described in the video below, the project will prevent carbon emission of more than 30 million tonnes over the next three decades.

Last year saw more than 70 financial institutions from across the globe pledge to scale-up energy efficiency investments in an attempt to tackle climate change and take advantage of a “huge business opportunity”.

Matt Mace

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