The National Trust

Why is Europe’s largest conservation charity banking with Europe’s biggest funder of fossil fuels?

The National Trust (NT) has a wide range of diverse responsibilities encompassing heritage, landscape, nature and wildlife, and recognizes the central importance of the climate crisis in undertaking them, noting that “[a]lmost three quarters of the most important land in our care is vulnerable to climate change.”
Land & landscape, National Trust
That alone would call into question the NT’s choice to bank with Barclays, which finances more fossil fuel activity than any other in Europe, involving companies whose “investments are largely going to new oil and gas”
Facts give lie to claim record oil money is being poured into green projects, Guardian
something the UN Secretary General has bluntly labelled “moral and economic madness.”
Status Apr 5 2022, @antonioguterres

There are further stark differences between the NT’s stated values and the actions of its bank, some of which are set out below, providing more context to the upcoming Members’ Resolution proposing that the NT review its relationship with Barclays. The full resolution can be seen here and NT members can vote for it online as follows:

Single-use plastic: NT

Plastic waste doesn’t just lead to unsightly litter; it is a pernicious pollutant that can persist for centuries on land and particularly in oceans, “entering the food chain and leading to disastrous consequences for the health of our planet and all its inhabitants.”
Ocean Plastic Pollution, UNESCO
The NT understands the scale of this problem, notes the ‘alarming’ quantities of plastic found at beach-litter-pick events, has already switched to compostable packaging for some items and plans to “remove single-use plastic drinks bottles, eliminate plastic packaging from our shops and take as much plastic as possible out of our operations.”
Targeting Plastic Pollution at the Source, National Trust

Single-use plastic: Barclays

Barclays tops the list of banks financing single-use plastic waste.
Barclays at summit of plastic waste mountain, Sharklays
The large fossil fuel companies with which Barclays has close ties are counting on growth in plastic production to drive demand for oil
How the fossil fuel industry is pushing plastics on the world, CNBC
despite having known for decades that plastic recycling will never be practical.
How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled, NPR

Peat: NT

The NT looks after 40 peatland sites, underlining how peat “acts as a carbon store, it is a great habitat for wildlife, it has a role in water management”, that it “holds more carbon than the combined forests of Britain, France and Germany” and has taken steps to restore peatland sites by drainage, burning or over-grazing.
What's so Special about peat?, National Trust

Peat: Barclays

Barclays’ financing includes large sums for tar sands exploitation
Banking on Climate Chaos 2022, RAN et al
, extracting bitumen from deposits in locations like Alberta’s peat bogs, which are destroyed in the process releasing much of the carbon stored, raising atmospheric CO2 levels that drive climate change – in addition to the CO2 released when the oil produced is burnt. Tar sands exploitation is particularly energy-intensive; “Fuels derived from tar sands oil create about 20% more greenhouse gases than conventional fuels because it takes so much effort just to get them out of the ground and pumped to refineries.”
Just how bad is tar sands oil for our climate?, Clean Wisconsin

Biodiversity: NT

The intricately interconnected biodiversity of our ecosystems, on which we rely for oxygen, water, food, as well as harnessing nature to tackle climate change, is in rapid decline. Extinctions are accelerating, and the UK in particular is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries
Biodiversity loss risks 'ecological meltdown', BBC
- well below the safe limit researchers say is needed to avoid risk of collapse. The NT is restoring and creating wildlife habits to try to slow the loss, and recognizes that we “can only meet the challenge of climate change by helping nature to heal”
Tackling climate change together, National Trust

Biodiversity: Barclays

Barclays is one of the top European banks for financing business activity that destroys ecosystems.
Barclays on podium of European 'extinction banks', Sharklays
This has a multiplying effect on its role in financing fossil fuel activity driving the climate crisis. Ecosystem destruction both releases CO2 and reduces the planet’s capacity to absorb it.

Forests: NT

In 2020, the NT announced its ambitious plan to plant 20 million new trees in 10 years, creating 18,000 hectares of new woodland. By carefully choosing the right trees for the right places, the NT intends to “attract more wildlife, create new homes for nature, protect landscapes prone to flooding and to help in the fight against climate change.”
National Trust’s plans for 20 million ‘right trees in right places’ take root, National Trust

Forests: Barclays

Aside from financing other activities that drive deforestation
Barclays on podium of European 'extinction banks', Sharklays
, Barclays provides generous credit facilities for Drax Group, whose power station is the biggest single emitter of CO2 in the UK, and third biggest in Europe.
Burning questions for Drax financers, Sharklays
It consumes gigantic amounts of woody biomass, sourcing of which involves clear cutting of primary forest as shown in the recent shocking Panorama documentary.
The Green Energy Scandal Exposed, BBC Panorama

See the news and facts pages to learn more about Barclays’ role in the climate and ecological emergency, the protests page to see how widespread condemnation is of the bank’s policies, and this page to see ways you can add your voice.