Santa shames Barclays and HSBC: Worst banks for the climate

Extinction Rebellion visit Barclays Bank, Broadmead, Bristol, December 19th 2020. Photo credit: Simon Holliday / simonholliday.com

Santa made a list and checked it twice. And number one on the naughty list, nationally and in Bristol, is Barclays: the worst bank in Europe for funding the fossil fuel industry. Close behind is HSBC.

Santa made a rare statement last night, treating the banks as he would any naughty child, saying:

“Barclays and HSBC shouldn’t bank on receiving any Christmas presents until they cease financing fossil fuel industries which pollute the skies my reindeer have to fly through”.

So last night [Friday 18th December] right across the UK, including Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, Santa’s rebel elves from Extinction Rebellion (XR) covered these banks’ branches and ATMs with stickers castigating them for fuelling the climate crisis.

Our aim: to alert customers and Barclays and HSBC staff to the unprincipled and destructive nature of their financing and investments.

Extinction Rebellion visit Barclays Bank, Broadmead, Bristol, December 19th 2020. Photo credit: Simon Holliday / simonholliday.com

While, today [12 midday Saturday 19th December] Bristol witnessed Santa, with reindeer support, delivering coal to Barclays branch in Broadmead, a gift in keeping with the bank’s complicity in funding the climate crisis.

Bristol climate activist, Chay Harwood, said:

“We are condemning Barclays and HSBC who, in 2020, have added another £18.55bn1 and £14.7bn2 respectively to their fossil fuel and carbon intensive investments.

To add insult to injury, Barclays announced their new climate policy at this year’s AGM in March only to invest even more in fossil fuels than last year!

Barclays and HSBC investments now stand at £94.5 billion and £80 billion respectively since the Paris Accord was signed in 2015 – and there is still no sign of them stopping.”

Extinction Rebellion visit Barclays Bank, Broadmead, Bristol, December 19th 2020. Photo credit: Simon Holliday / simonholliday.com

Extinction Rebellion UK spokesperson, Rob Wheeldon, said:

“Last month the UN declared4 greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have continued to rise this year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, Barclays and HSBC are planning to pour fuel onto the climate and nature crisis for the next 30 years, while the government and Bank of England refuse to lift a finger against them.

Even former Bank of England chief, Mark Carney, has said that the financial sector has moved ‘far too slowly’5 on curbing fossil fuel investments.

And we know that banks with the best environmental, social and governance performance6 results commercially outperform their less ethical competitors.”

Santa added:

“I’m asking all Barclays and HSBC customers to switch to other banks. That will be the best Christmas present for me in 2020”.

[Santa’s full speech here]


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