Barclays tell AGM new extreme oil policy on way as First Nations protest over Canadian tar sands pipeline

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There was a poignant second at Barclays’ AGM at present when Ocean Hyland, a 22-year-old First Nations activist from Canada, raised the difficulty of the financial institution financing a tar sands pipeline in British Columbia. 

The Tsleil Waututh Nation fiercely opposes the event, which it fears will enhance tanker site visitors and produce with it a heightened danger of oil spills and air pollution, facilitating the growth of the Alberta Oil Sands within the course of. It’s backed by environmental organisations corresponding to Greenpeace. 

In March, I highlighted a damning report on the banking trade’s financing of maximum fossil fuels like this, which in response to a coalition of non revenue organisation surged to a $115bn (£84bn) in 2017. 

Britain had just one financial institution within the high ten worst offenders within the type of HSBC. However final month that financial institution stated it could largely cease funding new coal energy vegetation, tar sands tasks and arctic drilling, a welcome signal of progress. 

“We recognise the necessity to cut back emissions quickly to realize the goal set within the 2015 Paris Settlement… and our accountability to help the communities by which we function,” Daniel Klier, HSBC’s group head of technique and world head of sustainable finance, stated on the time. 

The choice was pragmatic: banks like his will endure as a lot as the remainder of us as the malign penalties of carbon air pollution mount and the worldwide economic system takes the hit.  

It additionally leaves Barclays as an outlier. 

The reply Ms Hyland obtained when she raised the difficulty was much like the one I acquired once I adopted it up with the financial institution: We’re trying on the situation and getting ready new insurance policies for publication on excessive oil and on local weather change. 

On the assembly the re-election of Barclays chief govt Jes Staley was backed by greater than 99 per cent of traders, regardless of the Monetary Conduct Authority saying it needs to fantastic him for an try and unmask a whistleblower and the presence of activist Ed Bramson on the shareholder register. He is looking for a shake up. 

In his opening remarks, Mr Staley declared “the massive process of restructuring Barclays” to be full whereas hailing the “appreciable progress” made in opposition to his technique of constructing Barclays a transatlantic client and wholesale financial institution anchored in London and New York with “very optimistic penalties for the longer term”. 

That could possibly be seen as sending a message to Mr Bramson: We’re heading in the right direction so pipe down. 

If this is so and Barclays is the sturdy financial institution with the potential Mr Staley says it has, the financing of the damaging actions Ms Hyland opposes, which characterize solely a comparatively small a part of its enterprise, should be pointless.

It’s thus to be hoped that the promised publications will characterize greater than a PR whitewash and sign their finish, sparing Ms Hyland, who travelled greater than four,000 miles to attend the AGM, from one other lengthy flight subsequent yr. 

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