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CCA vigil barclays climate change greenbelt2 banner.jpg
CCA vigil barclays climate change greenbelt.jpg
World News

Greenbelt: Vigil urges Christian charities to drop Barclays for the sake of the planet

by Heather Preston

Climate campaigners staged a vigil at the popular Christian festival Greenbelt to urge all charities present to stop using Barclays banking services.

Organised by Christian Climate Action (CCA), the vigil took place on Saturday. It warned organisations against funding the bank - known to be one of Europe’s leading funders of fossil fuels.

According to a 2023 Rainforest Action Network report, the bank has provided £148 billion in fossil fuel financing, making it the world’s seventh largest funder of fossil fuels globally between 2016 and 2021.

Saturday's service saw activists pray and share their concerns on the climate crisis while others held up signs saying: “Praying for charities to stop banking with Barclays, who fund climate chaos.”

Attendee Holly-Anna Petersen said donating to a charity that banks with Barclays channels your money into fossil fuel expansion: “In this critical time for life on our planet, it is important that charities put their money where their mouth is. If they are declaring their positive impact, they need to move away from this destructive bank.”

Greenbelt, which celebrated its 50th anniversary over the August bank holiday was attended by some 12,000 visitors this year. It has recently added its name to the list of organisations set to stop using Barclays as a result of climate concerns.

Christian Aid, a Greenbelt partner cut ties with Barclays in July, following a similar vigil outside its offices. The charity moved its banking provider to Lloyds after an eight-year relationship with Barclays.

Barclays, which has provided specialist banking support for NGO’s, non-profits and charities for the past 20 years, has been called to publish a policy to end all types of financing to coal, oil and gas clients.

The bank claims to be one of the first banks to set a net zero target for 2050 as well as a target to reduce real-world emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. It has also set a target to facilitate $1trn in sustainable and transition financing between now and 2030.

Speaking on the issue, a Barclays spokesperson has said it is “clear that addressing climate change is an urgent and complex challenge.”

“We are using our entire franchise to support new green technologies and infrastructure projects that will build up low-carbon capacity and capability, having provided over £87bn of green finance since 2018.”

“We believe that Barclays can make the greatest difference as a bank by working with customers and clients as they transition to a low-carbon business model,” a Barclays spokesperson added.

Competitors HSBC, Lloyds and Natwest have all taken steps to stop direct financing of new oil and gas projects.

CCA plans to hold another vigil outside the headquarters of Christian charity and Barclays account holder Tearfund on Friday 7th September 2023.


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