Emma Thompson is among the signatories of the letter to the AELTC
By Jemma Dempsey
Film stars and celebrities are calling on Wimbledon to end its new sponsorship deal with Barclays over the bank’s support for fossil fuel projects.
Actress Emma Thompson and film director Richard Curtis are two of the campaigners who said Barclays was “profiting from climate chaos”.
Wimbledon said Barclays was committed to creating access to sport for all.
Barclays said it was one of the first banks to set an ambition to become net zero by 2050.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) announced Barclays as an official banking partner of the Championships in November last year.
As the 2023 Championships get under way on Monday, Thompson and Curtis are among those to sign an open letter to the AELTC.
The letter is from Make My Money Matter, a campaign group co-founded by Curtis that seeks to transform the financial system to put “people and planet on a par with profit”.
It also has the backing of retail guru Mary Portas, entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and musician Brian Eno, among others.
Four Weddings and a Funeral director Curtis said: “With the great respect and love for Wimbledon – and all the magic from Billie Jean King to Andy Murray – the decision of the AELTC to partner with Barclays is a very bad line call.”
Director Richard Curtis co-founded campaign group Make My Money Matter
Addressed to the chief executive of the AELTC Sally Bolton, it states: “Barclays is Europe’s largest fossil fuel funder, providing over $190 billion to the industry since the Paris Climate Agreement was struck in 2016.
“Put simply, Barclays is financing and profiting from climate chaos, and accepting a sponsorship deal from them is an endorsement of these actions,” the letter said.
The campaign group claims the AELTC’s decision to team up with Barclays is “not only bad for the environment, but also inconsistent with Wimbledon’s cultural legacy and environmental policies”.
“As outlined in your 2023 climate strategy, your intent is to: ‘Sustain… The Championships in a way that ensures we have… positive impact on our environment. We will be honest, transparent and act with integrity in what we can and cannot do.’
“We do not believe sponsorship from Europe’s largest funder of fossil fuels is consistent with this approach,” the letter states.
In a statement the All England Club said it welcomed Barclays as “the latest addition to our family of official partners”.
“Barclays’ commitment to creating access to sport for all is something that we are passionate about… our ambition to have a positive impact on the environment is central to our day-to-day operations and is a core part of putting on a successful Championships.
“We know this is one of the defining challenges of our times and we are fully committed to playing our part. From using 100% renewable electricity and offering low carbon options on our menus, to sending zero waste to landfill and promoting a culture of reuse, we’re working hard to achieve a positive environmental impact across all of our operations.”
Barclays said it believed it could “make the greatest difference as a bank by working with customers and clients as they transition to a low-carbon business model, focusing on facilitating the finance needed to change business practices and scale new green technologies”.
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