Film stars and celebrities are demanding that Wimbledon sever ties with Barclays due to the bank’s involvement in fossil fuel projects. Prominent figures such as actress Emma Thompson and film director Richard Curtis have criticized Barclays for “profiting from climate chaos.”
Campaigners Rally Against Barclays Partnership
Renowned personalities Emma Thompson and Richard Curtis, along with other campaigners, are advocating for the termination of Wimbledon’s sponsorship deal with Barclays. The celebrities argue that the bank’s support for fossil fuel projects contradicts the principles of combating climate change.
Barclays’ Net Zero Ambition
In response to the criticism, Barclays emphasized its commitment to becoming net zero by 2050, making it one of the first banks to set such an ambitious goal. The bank asserts that it is actively working towards aligning its operations with the objective of reducing carbon emissions.
AELTC Announces Barclays as Official Banking Partner
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) selected Barclays as the official banking partner for the Championships, announcing the partnership in November of last year. However, as the 2023 Championships commence, Emma Thompson, Richard Curtis, and others have signed an open letter addressed to the AELTC expressing their concerns.
Make My Money Matter Takes a Stand
The open letter is initiated by Make My Money Matter, a campaign group co-founded by Richard Curtis. The organization strives to reshape the financial system, placing equal importance on people, the planet, and profit. Joining Thompson and Curtis in support are influential figures like retail expert Mary Portas, Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, and musician Brian Eno.
Curtis’ Disappointment with the Partnership
Richard Curtis, the director of “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” expresses disappointment over the AELTC’s decision to partner with Barclays. He fondly recognizes the historical impact of Wimbledon, from Billie Jean King to Andy Murray, but considers the decision to align with Barclays as a significant misstep.
Barclays’ Fossil Fuel Funding Criticized
The open letter accuses Barclays of being Europe’s largest funder of fossil fuels, having provided over $190 billion to the industry since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016. The campaigners argue that accepting sponsorship from such an institution endorses their activities, including financing and profiting from activities that contribute to climate change.
Misalignment with Wimbledon’s Climate Strategy
Make My Money Matter claims that the AELTC’s partnership with Barclays not only harms the environment but also contradicts Wimbledon’s cultural legacy and environmental policies. They point out that the AELTC’s stated climate strategy for 2023 aims to sustain the Championships while positively impacting the environment and acting with integrity. The campaigners believe that receiving sponsorship from Europe’s largest fossil fuel funder contradicts this approach.
Barclays and Access to Sport for All
The All England Club responded to the criticisms by emphasizing the positive aspects of their partnership with Barclays. They state that Barclays’ commitment to creating access to sport for all aligns with their own values. Furthermore, they assert that their day-to-day operations prioritize having a positive environmental impact, including initiatives such as using 100% renewable electricity, offering low carbon options on menus, minimizing waste, and promoting reuse.
Barclays’ Focus on Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Model
Barclays defends its position by stating that it believes it can make the most significant difference as a bank by supporting customers and clients in their transition to a low-carbon business model. The bank aims to facilitate the finance required to implement sustainable business practices and scale up innovative green technologies.
In conclusion, film stars and celebrities, including Emma Thompson and Richard Curtis, are urging Wimbledon to terminate its sponsorship deal with Barclays due to the bank’s involvement in fossil fuel projects. The campaigners argue that accepting sponsorship from Europe’s largest funder of fossil fuels contradicts Wimbledon’s environmental policies and cultural legacy. Barclays defends its position by highlighting its commitment to becoming net zero by 2050 and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. The outcome of this dispute remains to be seen as the Championships proceed.