Barclays bullsh*t

Billboards hijacked with spoof Barclays adverts, as bank prepares to announce new climate policy

Billboards and bus stops across the UK have been hacked with spoof Barclays adverts by activists, as climate campaigners increase pressure on the bank to stop funding the expansion of the fossil fuel industry.

More than 200 billboards and bus stop spaces in 20 towns and cities have had satirical artworks installed without permission, as calls grow for the bank to stop offering credit to fossil fuel companies flouting climate pledges. Barclays is currently considering updating its policy on fossil fuel lending ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this November.

The posters designed by 11 artists reference Barclays financing of companies involved in Arctic oil drilling, coal mining and fracking as well industrial meat companies such as JBS, who are accused of deforestation in the Amazon. They also link the bank's sponsorship of the football Premier League with fossil fuel profits. One billboard artwork by Darren Cullen reads, “Our plans to stop forest fires: cut them down first.” Another by Inzione shows an Arctic oil rig and reads, “Drilling our way to Net Zero.”

Tona Merriman from Brandalism accused Barclays of making disingenuous claims to become a “net zero” bank whilst granting $4.4bn in loans and bonds to fossil fuel companies in 2021 alone.

“The posters showcase the environmental impacts we don’t see in Barclays’ own adverts: the deforestation, the ocean drilling, the oil spills, the wildfires, the threat to wildlife. They’re a corrective, right of reply to the greenwash messaging of Europe’s dirtiest bank.”

"Ahead of COP26, banks like Barclays will tell the world how much they’re investing in renewables. But what's more significant is how much they continue to pour into fossil fuels. Put simply, it’s not enough to fund the good stuff, they’ve also got to stop funding the bad stuff.”

The artworks were designed by 11 artists including Darren Cullen, Soofiya, Fokawolf, Merny Wernz, Rhonda Anaconda, Frank Riot, Michelle Tylicki, Inzione, Seize The Mean and F-Art-Attack.

Barclays has attracted criticism for being Europe’s biggest fossil financier, granting greater sums to fossil fuel companies last year than any of its European competitors.

Pressure has grown on Barclays following the publication of new findings by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The respected industry body has now stated that, in order to reach net-zero by 2050, no new coal, oil or gas projects should be undertaken or financed.

The bank has committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 and campaigners argue that, according to the IEA findings, this means the bank should immediately commit to cease any further financing of companies expanding coal, oil and gas output and infrastructure.