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We aim to be the financial services group
of choice.



We are committed to Shared Growth, which for us means making a positive impact on society and delivering shareholder value.

This section should be read in conjunction with our Customer & Client, Colleague and Conduct reviews. Additional information: Citizenship fact sheet; GRI fact sheet; and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment fact sheet.

1 The percentage is calculated based on existing employees who completed refresher training and new employees who completed training (excluding non-operational employees, external consultants, interns, managed service contract workers and on-call contract workers).
2 To align with the Barclays global requirements and reporting system, the reporting period changed from the fourth quarter in 2012 to the third quarter from 2013 onwards. 2012 to 2014 data has thus been restated. Rest of Africa data is only included in the diesel, electricity and flights data used in the calculation of the carbon footprint. Total of Scope 1, 2 and 3 CO2 emissions (GHG Protocol: operational control boundary).
3 Restated from 2014 onwards to reflect gross new and renewed lending to SMEs. Not able to apply same principle to 2013.
4 Spend invested in community investment programmes including donations and related sponsorships, consumer education (including supplier payments and related sponsorships), and the associated direct operational cost of these programmes.
5 Total number of project finance transactions that have been reviewed for environmental and social risks in terms of the Equator Principles. Figures from 2014 onwards are reported in accordance with Equator Principles III requirements (June 2013) and include transactions that have reached financial close.
LA This indicator is part of a limited assurance engagement undertaken by PwC and EY. The assurance statement can be found here.

2015 priorities

Progress made in 2015

Within the pillar, ‘the way we do business’, we aim to extend the reach of our Barclays Lens training; create stronger and more accountable public-private partnerships; fund clean power projects that form part of the Power Africa initiative; and reduce our carbon emissions.

40 561 employees undertook our online Barclays Lens training. As part of the South African government’s Renewable Independent Energy Power Producer Procurement Programme (RIEPPP), we arranged financing for 12 renewable energy projects that will add 1 117MW of renewable energy power to the South African grid when the projects are operational. We reduced our carbon footprint by a further 33.7%.

Within the pillar, ‘contributing to growth’, we aim to launch our ReadytoWork programme; increase development of SMEs with a clear focus on access to markets; and further unlock banking opportunities in disadvantaged communities through new products and services targeted to meet specific needs.

ReadytoWork was activated in six countries with the remaining countries to be launched over the course of 2016. 25 966 SMEs were reached through a series of seminars, conferences and workshops held across South Africa. We continue to enhance our ATM and mobile channels functionality to include services such as CashSend and Scan and Pay and our partnerships with retailers, such as with Pep Stores, continue to extend our reach.

Within the pillar, ‘supporting our communities’, we aim to reach 430 000 disadvantaged youth with skills and experience; to collaborate with corporate clients to scale our collective impact; to encourage employee volunteering; and enhance our measurement and evaluation framework.

We reached 1 373 301 youth between 2012 and 2015 (ahead of our total target), with 353 488 reached in 2015, behind our target of 430 000. In partnership with major corporate clients, including Chevron, Massmart and NMC/SKA, we have created enterprise and supply chain development programmes to assist these clients in developing and funding SMEs within their corporate value chains. 11 284 employees volunteered over 66 709 hours of their time in support of their communities. An independent assessment of a sample of our programmes tested the efficacy of our approach and the findings informed improvements in our approach.

Ethical conduct

Our code of conduct, the Barclays Way, outlines the behaviours which govern our way of working across the business. It is a point of reference covering all aspects of employees’ working relationships, including with other Barclays employees, our customers and clients, governments and regulators, business partners, suppliers, competitors and the broader community. It is a framework that fosters values-based decision-making and shows how our policies and practices align with our Values. 97.5%LA of employees completed their attestations, ahead of the 97.0% target.

Accompanying the Barclays Way is the Barclays Lens, a clear framework that moves decision-making beyond legal, regulatory and compliance concerns towards considering broader societal impacts and opportunities. 40 561 employees completed the online Barclays Lens training programme.

We monitor the conduct of our employees in various ways, including external surveys and by tracking the number of disciplinary cases, grievances and ethical breaches recorded which is discussed further in the Conduct review.

The importance of living our Values is reinforced in our performance management approach, which places equal emphasis on our objectives (‘what’) and behaviours (‘how’).

Taking account of stakeholder considerations

We proactively engage with stakeholders, including governments, development organisations, private sector organisations, civil society, shareholders and our employees on our strategic priorities and deliverables. The input and challenges raised by these key stakeholders are important in shaping and validating our strategy and our business conduct within the markets in which we operate. We have five designated stakeholder groups aligned to the Balanced Scorecard. The groups are:

  • Customers and clients, who use our products and services.
  • Colleagues, who deliver our products and services and provide support.
  • Communities (via Citizenship), who accept us within their midst.
  • Regulators (via Conduct), who grant us our licence to operate in their jurisdictions.
  • Investors (via Company), who commit capital to us.

The key matters raised and how we are responding to these matters are outlined within the section titled managing matters which are material to our sustainability.

Managing the environmental, social and governance impacts of our business

Our most significant impacts on the environment are indirectly via our lending, investing and procurement practices and in managing our direct environmental impact.

Lending practices

As an Equator Principles Financial Institution, we provide project financing only to project sponsors undertaking environmentally and socially responsible developments. In 2015, we screened sevenLA transactions that reached financial close. All were within the power generation sector. We provided further guidance on 132 general transactions (outside the Equator Principles definitions or scope) across various sectors, with the majority in infrastructure, followed by power generation (including renewable energy), mining and metals, and oil and gas. All the reported projects have been independently reviewed. All the reported projects are located in Africa (non‑designated countries).

The Environmental Credit Risk Management Learning programme was completed by 145 employees, either by following an interactive online training course or by attending general environmental credit risk presentations. The training, targeting internal credit and business employees, enhances bankers’ awareness of environmental and social risks and illustrates how these relate to sustainable finance.

Financing renewables and energy efficiency

Both renewable energy projects and fossil fuel projects will be required, at least in the medium term, to ensure energy security as the global energy industry bridges the gap to cleaner options. In Africa, energy security is key to economic growth and we continue to play a role in funding both renewable energy and fossil fuel projects on the continent.

South Africa is currently the continent’s largest renewable energy market. By April 2015, 64 projects with a total capacity of 3 916MW had been approved by the Department of Energy. Up to the third bidding round, we have been involved in financing 20 projects, with a combined capital value of R52bn, making up a total of 1 598MW, including 456MW for solar photovoltaic, 892MW for wind and 250MW for concentrated solar technologies. This represents about 41% of all renewable energy projects (by MW) awarded so far. In addition, we supported 13 further projects which have been awarded preferred bidder status during rounds 3.5 and 4 of RIEPPP. These projects, with a combined capacity of 1 318MW and combined capital value of R34bn, are expected to reach financial close during 2016.

Managing our direct impact

We have an expansive physical footprint and it is important that we manage the direct environmental impact of our operations in terms of our carbon emissions and, increasingly, our paper and water consumption. While some initiatives have a short-term negative impact on financial performance, we are seeing benefits from reduced energy costs and lower reliance on electricity supply as we use alternative energies such as gas and solar power. Our South African operation remains the most significant contributor to our overall carbon footprint. South African sites experienced power outages and back-up diesel and gas generators were used. This resulted in a reduction in grid electricity consumption but increased gas and diesel consumption, which in turn reduced the attributed carbon emission factor because these alternative energies are cleaner to the environment than grid power.

In 2015, we reduced our carbon footprint a further 33.7% to 220 988LA tonnes CO2 (2014: 333 328LA tonnes CO2), a significant reduction from 417 295 tonnes CO2 in 2012. Total energy from electricity, gas and diesel use also decreased to 350 116 045kWhLA (2014: 410 194 215kWhLA). Three years after setting our targets against the 2012 baseline, we have decreased carbon emissions by 47.0% (reduction target: 19.4%) and energy consumption by 29.4% (reduction target: 21.3%).


Our supplier code of conduct outlines the standards we expect from suppliers in terms of environmental risk management, human rights, as well as diversity and inclusion. We actively assess our suppliers against these standards through a combination of annual self‑certification questionnaires and on-site assessments.

In South Africa, we have increased the proportion of our procurement spend with black-owned suppliers, black women-owned suppliers and qualifying small enterprise suppliers, as well as exempted micro enterprises. Identified as a key area for improvement in 2014, a specific focus was placed on procurement from black-owned and specifically black-women owned businesses. In 2015, R4bn (2014: R2bn) was spent with black-owned suppliers, of which R2.5bn (2014: R0.7bn) was with black women-owned suppliers. While we continue to increase procurement from black women-owned suppliers, we need to grow this further, along with spend on SMEs (businesses with a turnover of less than R50m per year).

The majority of tenders issued included suppliers sourced from an 800-strong black-owned and black-women owned supplier database. Fifteen small black-owned suppliers were introduced to our major suppliers and are now on their vendor lists. Our inaugural supplier diversity day included 85 SMEs. Master classes were produced, facilitated and delivered for all attendees in conjunction with enterprise development, and interviews were conducted by decision-makers in the Group. Ultimately, five SMEs were awarded new business with us and many more have been included in various sourcing events.

Driving sustainable progress using our products, capital and expertise

We focus on relevant affordable products and services, innovative delivery channels designed to facilitate easier access to financial services, and consumer education that improves financial literacy. We have a clear focus on developing innovative ways to improve access to economically disadvantaged people.

We have a number of products aimed at increasing access to financial services and we seek to help customers transition to ‘smart banking’ with cheaper and more convenient banking channels. Our pricing model encourages and rewards customers who choose to make use of electronic or digital channels.

  • Our first-to-market Family Springboard home loan for South Africa allows friends or family members to help each other by opening an interest-bearing fixed deposit account, ceding 10% of the property purchase price as security for the loan. The borrower secures a 100% bond with the assistance of a friend or a family member willing to act as a sponsor.
  • Stokvels, a group savings and lending system, have long been a safety net for millions of Africans, providing financial security and social wellbeing. The Absa Club Account operates as a convenient savings and transactional tool for groups of people with common financial interests who want to save together.
  • Our affordable housing business unit (My Home) addresses the housing challenges faced by consumers who earn less than R20 000 per month (single or joint household) in support of the South African government’s agenda on providing affordable housing to people. We provided more than 4 500 customers with home loan finance valued over R1.5bn in 2015. We also trained the majority of these customers through our borrower education programme that covers key aspects of home ownership, home maintenance and personal financial matters.
  • We continue to expand our branchless banking in South Africa to include more retailers. Currently, over 1 000 retailers, 468 of which are independent small businesses, enable customers to deposit and withdraw money, check balances, obtain mini-statements and buy pre-paid airtime. Approximately 575 000 transactions were processed through this channel in 2015.
  • Our partnership with PEP Stores in South Africa enables us to provide financial services to people in marginalised and poor communities through a channel that is convenient and trusted. Launched in late 2014, approximately 10 000 new PEPplus accounts are opened each month with account use growing steadily, averaging 299 000 transactions and 292 000 money transfers per month. December saw a record of 400 000 money transfers being generated in PEP Stores.
  • Customers are now able to withdraw money via point of sale devices with select retail partners in South Africa, Seychelles (first-to-market) and Zambia.
  • Account opening, via an iPad at remote locations, continues to gain momentum across Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa and Zambia.
  • Our ATM and mobile channels functionality includes services such as cash acceptance, CashSend (customers can electronically transfer funds via mobile or internet banking to a recipient, who is then able to withdraw the funds without needing a card or bank account) and Scan and Pay (which allows anyone to make payments to selected beneficiaries by either scanning or keying in a reference/account number).
  • We launched a first-to-market Group Savers Account, a transactional solution for savings cooperatives (metshelo) in Botswana.
  • Our Zidisha Group Savings Account in Kenya, where the interest rate increases as the number of savers increases, was voted the Best Deposit Product in Africa by Asian Banker.
  • Offered in Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania, Islamic Banking provides an alternative to conventional banking that is available to anyone who seeks a different approach to financial services. Customers have access to a range of product solutions, in strict compliance with Sharia Law, including savings, cheque, vehicle and asset finance, profit share, Islamic wills, international banking and even exchange traded funds.

Lending for economic growth

We have cumulative targets for lending to households, SMEs, and for assisting in raising finances for business and government. We believe that lending is critical to ongoing growth and will continue to do so in a responsible and sustainable manner.

In South Africa, lending to households continues to be affected by pressure on employment, decreasing disposable income and rising interest rates while lending to businesses has seen a continued increase. Outside South Africa, growth was achieved mostly through expanded product propositions in markets where risk levels are acceptable.

Financing raised for business and government has seen a significant increase with CIB raising over R213.5bn, primarily through debt financing for private and public sector client capital projects. Through this lending we enable economic and social development across a number of diverse sectors, including real estate, power, utilities and infrastructure, financial institutions, technology, media and telecommunications, and public and consumer sectors. Outside South Africa, growth is most notable in the manufacturing and transport sectors.

Helping businesses start up and grow

Enterprise development for SMEs is a key lever to the development of our African economies. Research has shown that this sector employs the highest number of people, including youth. We recognise that starting and growing businesses requires more than funding alone. Our enterprise development approach is founded on three pillars: 1) access to finance; 2) access to markets; and 3) access to non-financial business support.

Over and above access to funding and non-financial business support, we create a number of platforms for SMEs, including:

  • Our procurement internet portal which links SMEs to corporate supply chains. Over R2bn in tenders are advertised on a monthly basis and the number of participating SMEs increased to 37 000 (2014: 30 000).
  • In partnership with major corporate clients, including Chevron, Massmart and NMC/SKA, we have created enterprise and supply chain development programmes to assist these clients in developing and funding SMEs within their corporate value chains.
  • We sponsored the 2015 Africa Smart Procurement Summit, which connects corporates with SMEs. The summit, a Pan-African event where SMEs are exposed to procurement best practices and business opportunities, rotates across the continent and was held in South Africa in 2015.

In South Africa, we provided R595m in funding to qualifying entities under the Financial Services Charter and we have set aside R250m in enterprise development funding for SMEs in corporate supply chains. We supported 25 966 SMEs (2014: 42 594) through a series of seminars, conferences and workshops, of which approximately 2 300 received support through training interventions delivered through our centres of entrepreneurship and various programmes with strategic partners. The decrease in the number of SMEs reached is mainly as a result of placing greater emphasis on training linked to supply chain development programmes. In 2014, we also had a once-off programme that reached 10 000 beneficiaries and was not repeated in 2015. Going forward, we will expand our enterprise and supply chain development programmes in partnership with other major corporates, and build a technology platform that will combine lending (access to non-traditional finance), access to market, business development services and business tools for SMEs.

We continue to find solutions to assist businesses, for example, in South Africa our Payment Pebble is a portable card machine which plugs into a compatible smartphone or tablet’s audio jack, allowing customers to pay for goods and services quickly and securely with any VISA or MasterCard debit or credit card, wherever they are. In August, we also launched a new product proposition for our SME customers in Kenya, simplifying access to affordable financial solutions by reviewing lending caps and replacing the requirement for audited accounts with a behavioural scorecard for asset-based credit requests of up to KSH15m. Customers also have access to dedicated service from enterprise managers, relationship managers or branch managers.

Improving youth employability

We partnered with civil society organisations and government to support wider employability initiatives in the communities in which we operate. Our two-pronged approach of increasing employability and harnessing entrepreneurship, addresses the youth crisis through enterprise development.

Our approach includes learnerships (apprenticeships), our Pan-African graduate development programme, as well as providing bursaries and sponsorships. We increased our learnership intake to 1 078 (2014: 617). 177 were black South African learners with disabilities (a key focus for South Africa). Our Pan-African graduate programme included 116 (2014: 207) postgraduates from across the continent.

Through the Adopt a Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institution initiative, we assist students and build partnerships with the public sector to work together in addressing youth employability issues. We actively manage the challenges associated with such programmes, including retention, management buy-in and students lacking life skills, which impacts their ability to adapt to the work environment. Our external bursary scheme and sponsorship programmes provide resources to universities and institutions of higher learning as well as bursaries and scholarships to students across Africa. Bursaries were allocated to 100 African students, enabling them to study at South African leading universities, with a focus on critical and scarce skills in the financial sector.

Going forward, in line with our Shared Growth agenda, we will be investing R1.4bn in youth education programmes over the next three years.

Our community investment programmes provide disadvantaged youth with the skills and experience required to improve their employment prospects, enabling them to fulfil their potential. This is achieved through:

  • enterprise development programmes that enhance the prospects of starting a business or income-generating activity;
  • employability programmes that enhance future employment prospects typically through job training, numeracy and literacy skills development; and
  • financial literacy and skills programmes that enable young people to make better financial decisions and manage their money more effectively.

We invested R192mLA in community investment programmes. Key to our funding decisions is the long-term, underlying economics of the programme and we select programmes that link an intervention to an opportunity as a tangible means of migrating from output-based to impact-based programmes. Between 2012 and 2015 we aimed to reach more than 1.3 million young people and exceeded this target. While we did not achieve our 2015 forecasted sub-target of 430 000, we reached 353 000 youth. This was the result of a decision to await the outcomes of an independent assessment of a sample of our programmes and its recommended enhancements to our governance processes prior to releasing additional investments. We will move beyond output-oriented beneficiary tracking in 2016, to enhance our measurement and evaluation framework with a focus on intermediate outcomes and longer-term impact.

Employee participation and volunteering is another way in which we reach out and positively impact the communities in which we operate. 11 284 employees (27% of our permanent workforce) volunteered 66 709 hours of their time (valued at over R4.9m) in support of their chosen community projects in 2015. Of this, 78% were skills-based interventions aligned to our strategic focus areas.

We believe that consumer education is important, as it empowers individuals to make informed choices and improve their lives through responsible personal financial management. Outside South Africa, consumer education and financial literacy are embedded within employability and enterprise development programmes, while in South Africa it is reported separately in accordance with the Department of Trade and Industry’s Financial Sector Code.

Included in our performance metrics above is R28m (2014: R24m) invested in consumer education initiatives within South Africa, reaching 168 982 consumers in face-to-face interventions (2014: 193 234), which was behind our target. Included in this total is the annual StarSaver Teach Children to Save initiative together with the Banking Association of South Africa, where 152 employees reached more than 60 schools and 26 354 children. In terms of our awareness programme, we partnered with the KwaZulu-Natal Financial Literacy Association, contributing to a financial literacy newspaper that reached 190 000 government employees.

Looking ahead

Our Shared Growth agenda means we will apply our resources to developing solutions for our stakeholders through innovative products, services and partnerships. In this way we will contribute towards addressing some of the biggest challenges facing our continent such as unemployment, poverty, rising inequality and exclusion from access to education and financial services. Our focus will be on three key areas: education and skills development, financial inclusion and enterprise development. We will:

  • complete the implementation of our flagship ReadytoWork programme in Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda;
  • invest R1.4bn in education projects over three years;
  • further embed existing, and expand our enterprise and supply chain development programmes in partnership with other major corporates; and
  • build a technology platform that will combine lending (access to non-traditional finance), access to markets, business development services and business tools for SMEs. The focus for 2016 will be on Botswana, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia with further expansion in 2017. Enterprise development centres will be opened in selected countries.