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ShareAction Exposes Loophole in Barclays Energy Policy

Barclays’ recently updated energy policy will allow the UK bank to continue financing fracking, which contradicts its net zero commitment, according to new analysis by UK NGO ShareAction. Following engagement with its shareholders, the bank’s amended energy policy pledges to no longer directly finance new oil and gas projects and to restrict its financing of ‘pureplay’ companies focused exclusively on fossil fuel extraction and exploration. Pureplay companies working on short-term extraction projects – such as fracking – are currently exempt from this commitment. “Barclays’ energy policy contains loopholes that allow the bank to continue to financially support fracking – a risky activity that contributes to climate change and can destroy habitats and contaminate water supplies,” said Kelly Shields, Campaign Manager at ShareAction. “Barclays’ stance on fracking leaves it out of step with other large banks that have listened to the concerns of investors and customers and started taking steps to cut off support for this fossil fuel.” Thirty-four percent of Barclays’ financing to upstream oil and gas companies between 2016-22 went to pureplay fossil fuel extraction and/or exploration companies, the ShareAction report noted. “We have been clear that we think Barclays can and should go further on their climate commitments, particularly in strengthening its fracking policy,” said Katharina Lindmeier, Senior Responsible Investment Manager at UK workplace pension scheme Nest. “While reading this new analysis was disappointing, we will continue working with Barclays over the coming years to help develop their policy, with fracking a key area of engagement.” 

 

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