Social innovation

Fostering social innovation in the way we think, work and operate is a priority for Barclays

The Barclays Social Innovation Facility (SIF) is an internal mechanism which incubates colleague ideas for financial products and services that seek to specifically address environmental or social challenges.The SIF was launched in 2012 and continues to be one of Barclays’ most innovative mechanisms to advance socially and environmentally impactful products and services in a commercial way.

As sustainable finance markets mature and our businesses incorporate ESG considerations into product development, SIF aims to become a centre of excellence on disruptive financial products and services by providing seed support to commercially valuable propositions and the colleagues and teams championing them.  

The opportunities we incubate in SIF are complex in nature and often disrupt traditional business models by building unconventional partnerships, utilizing untested technology, or targeting new customer segments. SIF is there to help colleagues overcome the typical barriers to social innovation they might encounter along the way.

Elsa Palanza

Global Head of Sustainability and Citizenship

Our success stories

Barclays Social Innovation Facility has invested in 50 projects, supporting their development through a range of financial and non-financial mechanisms. The SIF targets growth opportuntiies that are strategically aligned to Barclays, with products and services ranging from impact investing funds to blockchain solutions addressing transparency in the supply chain.

  • Championed by SIF support, Barclays’ thought-leading Impact Series provides analysis and insights on the social impact of economic, demographic and disruptive changes affecting markets, sectors and society at large, while commercialising the bank’s research product.

    Extending the track record of exceptional client response to the Impact Series, the latest piece titled ‘Oil in 3D: the demand outlook to 2050’ drove a high volume of client interactions while strengthening Barclays’ leadership position on the topic. The publication analyses whether the world’s estimated oil needs for the next few decades could be compatible with the COP 21 commitment.

    Learn more about the Oil in 3D piece and other reports here.


  • Originally incubated by the SIF, the Sustainable and Impact Banking group will identify and cover new companies, most of them emerging growth companies, focused on sustainability or social impact, and will advise such companies on financing and strategic opportunities. The Group works in partnership with existing coverage teams at Barclays to both support and lead client relationships, and will also work with environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) investors, building unique insights into this rapidly growing investor base in order to advise both existing and new clients of Barclays on ESG metrics and positioning.

    Learn more about the Sustainable and Impact Banking Group here.

  • Fostering an environment where employees are able and encouraged to be ‘intrapreneurs’ is critical to successfully delivering social innovation and surfacing new ideas.

    Barclays Social Innovation Facility works with hundreds of potential intrapreneurs each year – harnessing employees’ leadership, business planning, and strategic thinking skills. Ideation is supported through hackathons, workshops and Intrapreneur Labs, where employees, including our next generation of leaders, come together to uncover new business opportunities.

    Begin your intrapreneurial journey today by trying our free toolkit on the Know-How for Social Innovation created in partnership with Business Fights Poverty. The toolkit can be accessed here.

  • Barclays tailored banking products and services for the military were led by a team of innovative Barclays graduates. The team worked with the SIF from ideation to launch.

  • Barclays Women in Leadership Index (WIL) was incubated through the SIF. The index features companies with a female CEO or more than 25% female representation on corporate boards, building awareness of the importance of gender parity among corporate leadership, and bolstering relationships with institutional investors. In 2016, Bank of Montreal launched a new mutual fund that tracks the Barclays North American WIL.

    Find out more about the WIL.

  • Barclays is launching a series of impact investing products for family offices, foundations and retail investors. At the heart of impact investing is the aim to generate financial returns as well as positive social or environmental outcomes with your investments. Our research found that 56% of investors are interested in impact investing products, but only 9% have already made an investment. With this in mind, we launched a Multi-Impact Growth Fund with support from the SIF, specifically designed for investors who want to consider the societal effect of investments, without compromising on their returns.

SIF Insights