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A woman walks past a solar farm. Barclays believes businesses have a role in tackling climate change

Connecting you to a sustainable future

Barclays believes that businesses can make a real contribution to tackling climate change and that we have a key role to play in helping to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Read our latest insights on the role that business can play in tackling climate change.

From negative to positive

Environmental sustainability and commerciality can go hand-in-hand. Not convinced? We break down some of the big myths around ESG.

Environmental sustainability costs too much. True?

False. 64% of businesses have seen commercial benefits including reducing costs and improving outcome. Read more about how commerciality and sustainability go hand in hand here. (Source: Benchmarking Sustainability Report)

We lack the financial support to become more environmentally sustainable. True?

False. Green loans, Green Trade Finance and other sustainability-linked solutions can all help. Green finance could be as simple as considering investing in more energy efficient light bulbs, re-thinking your transport policy to include electric vehicles, or considering your waste management or water usage strategy.

As sustainability becomes a key element of business planning and long-term strategy, green finance can help the development and delivery of those plans across the entire operational function of a business. (Source: Green Finance)

Read about what makes a green finance product green here. 

Employees don’t care about implementing environmentally sustainable practices. True?

False. 80% of UK workers say their employer has a responsibility to take action for the planet (source: Totaljobs^).

My competitors are no more environmentally sustainable than I am. True?

False. 51% of businesses now have an environmental strategy in place, and the number is rising.

Watch our video on how boards can move towards viewing sustainability as the business of business (Source: Barclays_CarbonAmbitions_tables). 

David Farrow:

Environmental sustainability is becoming really important, both in our personal lives and our business lives. And I think at home, we all feel the pressure to really do a better job of leaving the planet in a better state than we found it. But also, it's becoming a bigger and bigger topic for our clients, as well, as they get questions from investors, from people that they supply to, around what are they going to do to actually make a difference, to make us more sustainable.

Elsa Palanza:

Embedding sustainability into your business practice is becoming a necessity and a mandate; so we're seeing sustainable business be the new normal. There are so many examples of good businesses who've been really embedding this into their daily practice.

Ultimately, sustainability depends on our human practices and human systems as much as it does our reliance on natural resources. As a leader, go through the course of one day, think about every system or approach that you come into contact with. Whether it's your supply chain, your vendors, your colleagues, your clients, your operations at large. Chances are there's a chance to embed sustainability practices into every one of those aspects.

David:

I think in terms of starting on the sustainability journey, picking something that's really actionable early on is key. For many that will be looking at energy efficiency, whether that be around lighting, building quality, transport. I think there's a number of different areas there that businesses can consider taking action on, and it makes a real difference.

But I've also seen fantastic progress in supermarkets, which of course touch all of us. Whether that be around the energy consumption in their stores, or whether it be around the way they're working with supply chains to perhaps reduce packaging or make sourcing more sustainable.

Also working with farmers, both in the UK and around the world. Many of our clients are building 'sustainability as business as usual' into their strategy. An example of a client that we've supported recently was Unipart, that went on a full review of their energy efficiency. Replacing lighting systems, put in more motion sensor detectors, LED bulbs, all of that. And it's really helped their profitability as well because in the longer term of course they're paying for less energy as well.

Elsa:

As a founding member of the principles for responsible banking we took on board the opportunity to be a leader when it comes to aligning ourselves with society's goals around the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris agreement. It means transitioning our lending portfolio in a way that is thoughtful and aligned with those global goals. It means thinking about how to help our clients to make the transition to a low-carbon economy. And it means thinking about the journey that we're on and the fact that this is a very fast-moving space.

David:

So the term green financing is banded about quite a bit, what do we actually mean by that? Well, it's finance to enable clients to do a project that makes them more sustainable. At Barclays we've been working with Sustainalytics to come up with a green product framework and that's really essentially about making sure that the things we're financing are actually going to make a difference in terms of sustainability.

Using green finance has a couple of real benefits for business. I think the first is it sends a signal externally that you are investing in a more sustainable future for your business. And the second one is that using the framework can really help to focus people's minds on the choices that they're making about investment. And in some cases as well of course there will be incentives within the pricing framework to make it attractive for businesses to take out.

I think the financial services sector have got a really key role to play in terms of giving businesses the ability to become more sustainable through the solutions that we offer. Whether that's around things like green loans or within our larger client base things like sustainable revolving credit facilities becoming more common. And the green bond market is becoming really active now as well.

Elsa:

It's about transitioning our own business practices thinking about the way we do banking day in and day out across all of our business lines. And also thinking about how we help our clients make the transition to a low-carbon economy. This is an opportunity for everyone to take on board this move to this next generation economy which can make them not only more sustainable but ultimately more competitive and more successful as well. These things go hand in hand and it's a huge opportunity for all of us.

Benchmarking sustainability: how do you compare?

We surveyed UK businesses on their progress towards environmental sustainability and have broken this down for you to compare sector-by-sector.

We found that in the past four years, the amount of businesses that rate sustainability as a priority has increased from just 39% to 61%, and that almost two-thirds expect their investment in environmental sustainability will increase over the next five years.

Download our report to find out how firms across the UK are meeting their environmental commitments.

Meet the ESG innovators

Client story

Anchor Hanover

As England’s largest provider of housing and care for older people, find out how Anchor Hanover is building a sustainable future.

Client Story

Birchall Tea

Discover how Barclays is supporting Birchall Tea to achieve their sustainable ambitions.

Client story

BRE Group

Barclays in helping BRE Group to champion new sustainability measures for the built environment. See how they can help your business.

Client story

Co-op

How the Co-op Group’s 175-year commitment to purpose is helping it tackle today’s ESG challenges collaboratively.

Client Story

Gousto

Read about the Gousto’s phenomenal growth story and how Barclays acted as Sustainability-Coordinator to support their sustainability ambitions.

Client story

National Trust

The National Trust is a charity and membership organisation for heritage conservation. Learn how they are financing for a sustainable future.

Client Story

Wyke Farms

When the leading cheese-maker wanted to build a biogas plant in order to be 100% energy self-sufficient, its long-standing relationship with Barclays was key to funding its plans.

Find out more – get in touch

Whether you’re at the beginning of your sustainability journey or ready to talk to us about our green finance products, we’re ready to speak with you.

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