Richard Teasdale, of drama group Act Now which raises awareness of environmental issues, challenged councillors at a meeting.
He said: “How will Sheffield Council ensure that their bank is a truly ethical and sustainable bank that puts the planet before profits?
“Last month, the Leader of this council said in reference to climate change, that it’s not like the sky is falling in. Well, I’m really sorry, the top scientists in the world disagree, the sky is falling in.
“In 2019, Sheffield Council declared a climate emergency and then in 2021 a nature emergency. I was therefore shocked to discover that the council’s current banking services contract is with Barclays.
“Barclays invests in fossil fuels more than any other European bank and is fueling the climate and ecological crises.
“The council’s contract with Barclays is due to expire in September. If the council is serious about the climate and nature emergencies, then surely they cannot consider engaging with any bank that knowingly invests billions in climate destroying fossil fuels?”
Ethical code of conduct
Coun Cate McDonald, Executive member for finance, said Barclays had provided the council’s banking services since 2014.
“The contract award was the result of a procurement process at that time, complying with required legislation at that time.
“We are now proposing to re-procure our banking services as an open tender. The documentation advises bidders that the council will be encouraging environmental considerations and carbon reduction in addition to price and quality.
“Bidders will be evaluated on their social value commitments, including fighting climate change and reducing waste and there’s an expectation that bidders will abide with the council’s ethical code of conduct for suppliers
“Potential bidders will be advised that the council has declared a climate emergency and set a target for the city to be zero carbon by 2030.”
Barclays’ website says it is taking a “leading role in tackling climate change and helping accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy”.
It aims to become a net zero bank by 2050 and it operations “will support the goal of limiting global warming”.