Achieving net zero operations

Although financed emissions account for the greatest proportion of our climate impact, we have also continued addressing our operational emissions – an important factor in meeting our ambition to be a net zero bank by 2050.

Defining net zero operations

We define net zero operations as the state in which we will achieve a GHG reduction of our Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 operational emissions[1] consistent with a 1.5oC-aligned pathway and counterbalance any residual emissions. We continue to review and develop our approach to net zero operations as standards to understand and define net zero evolve rapidly.

Net zero operations strategy

Our net zero operations strategy has two components:

  • Reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions through energy efficiency, electrification of our buildings and vehicles, renewable electricity sourcing and replacing fossil-fuel-powered infrastructure with low-emission alternatives.
  • Reduce Scope 3 operational emissions by engaging with our key stakeholders, including suppliers[2] and colleagues, to track, manage and reduce their GHG emissions – while embedding net zero principles across our policies and contractual requirements.

Progress to date

In 2023 we achieved our milestone[3] of 50% reduction of our Scope 1 and 2 location-based GHG emissions ahead of 2030 – reducing these emissions by 51%. We continued to source 100% renewable electricity[4] for our global real estate portfolio[5] and continued to meet our 90% Scope 1 and 2 market-based emissions reduction target[6] – reducing these emissions by 93%.

Key contributors to our progress include global real estate portfolio right-sizing[7] and energy efficiency programmes, as well as company vehicles electrification, and our continued focus on renewable electricity sourcing.

For our Scope 3 operational emissions, our focus remained on engaging with our key stakeholders and making data enhancements, particularly by acquiring primary supplier data and evolving our accounting methodology in line with industry standards and best practice. We also continued to pursue the integration of ESG considerations and expectations into processes throughout the procurement lifecycle.

We expect that our progress against our net zero operations targets and milestones is likely to be variable and non-linear. Our net zero operations strategy is dependent on broader industry, technological and regulatory changes that are outside Barclays’ control and may affect our ability to achieve our targets and milestones. Further, as the accounting standards and data underlying our net zero operations strategy continue to evolve and be refined, this could impact our metrics, targets and milestones. Progress against our targets and milestones may also be impacted by management decisions based on key drivers unrelated to climate, for example prudent risk management practices.

Our intent is to enhance data collection and accuracy to help identify key contributors to our impact, determine opportunities for improvement, and support the integration of sustainability into our business operations.


[1] We define our Scope 3 operational emissions to include supply chain, waste, business travel and leased assets

[2]  In this Achieving net zero operations section, when referring to suppliers and supply chain, we are referring to Third-Party Service Suppliers (TPSPs).

[3] In this Achieving net zero operations section, a reference to a "milestone” denotes an indicator we are working towards and report against.

[4]  We maintained 100% renewable electricity sourcing for our global real estate portfolio through instruments including green tariffs (55%) and energy attribute certificates (EACs)(45%).

[5] Global real estate portfolio includes offices, branches, campuses and data centres.

[6] In this Achieving net zero operations section, a reference to a “target” denotes an indicator linked to our executive remuneration.

[7] By right-sizing, we are optimising our space and associated resources for our operational needs.

2023 Highlights

Reducing our Scope 1 and 2 emissions

Energy Efficiency – Electrification – Renewable Electricity Sourcing

In 2023, to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions, we maintained focus on improving energy efficiency and replacing fossil-fuel-powered infrastructure with lower-emission alternatives.

Energy efficiency measures reduce our overall energy demand and reliance on the grid to power our operations. Concurrently, by replacing fossil-fuel-powered infrastructure, for example, by electrifying our buildings and company vehicles, we will aim to eliminate a significant part of our Scope 1 emissions and prepare our infrastructure to consume electricity from renewable sources.

To continually improve operational energy efficiency, in 2023 we maintained global demand reduction programmes and right-sized[1] our global real estate portfolio – resulting in 44% energy consumption reduction against a 2018 baseline. These efforts also contributed to progress against our global corporate offices[2] energy use intensity (EUI) milestone by reducing our EUI by 27% against a 2018 baseline.

Our global energy optimisation programme contributed to our EUI reduction by adjusting corporate offices' settings and systems during periods of low or no occupancy to reduce our demand for energy while keeping our buildings running. In 2023[3] the programme contributed to approximately 9.1 GWh in energy savings at our UK corporate offices – equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of approximately 2,600 UK households.

In 2023 we continued electrifying our real estate portfolio by replacing end-of-life natural gas heating and cooling equipment with electric powered alternatives and prioritising electrification in campus developments wherever possible.

As part of our commitment to Climate Group's EV100 initiative, we have also made progress in transitioning our corporate vehicle fleet to electric vehicles (EVs) or ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs). By the end of 2023 88% of our UK fleet was converted to EVs and 42% of our global fleet was converted to EVs or ULEVs.

In 2023 we maintained 100% renewable electricity sourcing for our global real estate portfolio through instruments including green tariffs[4] (55%) and energy attribute certificates[5] (EACs)(45%), continuing to meet our 2025 target ahead of schedule.

Addressing our Scope 3 operational emissions

Supply chain – Business travel – Leased assets – Waste

To support our net zero operations strategy, in 2023 we continued to implement our supply chain net zero pathway. As part of our pathway we are working towards a 50% reduction in our supply chain GHG emissions by the end of 2030 and a long-term milestone of 90% emissions reduction by the end of 2050 (both against a 2018 baseline). In developing our supply chain net zero emissions pathway, we used the Science Based Targets initiative's (SBTi) Corporate Net Zero Standard and Target Setting Tool, consistent with a 1.5ºC-aligned pathway.

In 2023 we continued engaging with our stakeholders and colleagues to provide information and tools to encourage more sustainable travel choices. Our 2023 total colleague business travel emissions reduced by 43% against a 2018 baseline – noting these emissions doubled compared to 2022 due to a return to business travel post-COVID. We will continue to engage with our stakeholders and provide colleagues with the tools and resources to align with our net zero ambition. Our intent is to improve the accuracy of our business travel data to better inform emission reduction strategies.

While our leased assets and waste emissions are lower than other operational emissions, we are pursuing opportunities to reduce them.

For more information, please see the 2023 Annual Report and ESG Resource Hub.

Carbon credits

We are currently reviewing our approach to the use of voluntary carbon market credits for operational emissions.

We remain supportive of initiatives to enhance the integrity of the voluntary carbon market across both the supply and demand side.

Nature and biodiversity in our operations

Nature and biodiversity are intrinsically connected to our efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, maintain healthy communities and support productive, sustainable economies.

At the end of 2023 we started to identify and assess nature-related impacts and dependencies for our real estate operations informed by the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) LEAP (Locate, Evaluate, Assess, Prepare) approach. This evaluation includes assessing our real estate operations' water, pollution, biodiversity and resource use impacts and dependencies. We will continue the assessment in 2024 to evaluate nature considerations in our operations moving forward.

The assessment will support our focus on improving resource use and the ability to protect natural environments through circular design principles – including designing-out waste and pollution across our operations, recycling, and regenerating natural ecosystems.

Circular economy principles and zero waste

We are working to embed circular economy principles across our operations by seeking to eliminate waste at the source through resource use reductions and by improving recycling rates.

Across our key campuses[6] we have an ambition to achieve and maintain TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) zero waste certified projects by 2035 with a milestone to divert 90% of waste from landfill, incineration and the environment – and in 2023 achieved a 53% diversion rate of all waste, a 4% increase from the previous year[7].

Pollution management

Barclays has controls in place to address pollution risks across our property portfolio globally where we operate generators and store diesel. The pollution risk controls are engineered to identify possible pollution sources and pathways for an uncontrolled release to cause environmental harm, assess mitigation measures and identify improvements and actions that can be taken to further enhance our pollution prevention and mitigation measures. In 2023, 41% of our global real estate portfolio remains certified to ISO 14001, the international standard for designing and implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS).

For more information, please see the 2023 Annual Report and ESG Resource Hub.

[1] By right-sizing we are optimising our space and associated resources for our operational needs.

[2] Corporate offices include offices and campuses

[3]  Data represents reduction from 1 October 2022 to 31 September 2023.

[4] Green tariffs are programmes in regulated electricity markets offered by utilities, allowing large commercial and industrial customers to buy bundled renewable electricity from a specific project through a special utility tariff rate.

[5] Energy attribute certificates are the official documentation to prove renewable energy procurement. Each EAC represents proof that 1 MWh of renewable energy has been produced and added to the grid. Global EAC standards for renewable claims are primarily Guarantees of Origin in Europe and UK, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in North America and International RECs (I-RECs) in a growing number of countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

[6] Key campuses include 1 Churchill Place, Radbroke, Northampton, Glasgow, Pune, Whippany, 745 7th Avenue, Dryrock.

[7] Reported waste diversion performance for FY2022 has been recalculated from 65% to 49%,to account for an update in external data. .