Mia Taylor

by Mia Taylor
Last updated: 2:15 PM ET, Fri May 10, 2024

Responsible Travel has told the multi-national bank Barclays that it will be taking its business elsewhere.

The joint managing directors of Responsible Travel, Richard Skinner and Tim Williamson, are making the move away from the London-based bank in order to express their objection over the billions of dollars the bank has invested in fossil fuels.

A report from TTG says that the two leaders of Responsible Travel “could not overlook the $16 billion the bank reportedly invested in fossil fuels during 2022.”

”We’re a values-led company,” Williamson said, per TTG. “It’s more pressing than ever to ensure those values are baked into every area of our business – and this is one of them.”

The bold, climate-forward decision comes on the heels of Skinner and Williamson recently being named joint managing directors of Responsible Travel, a tour operator that specializes in offering sustainable travel and vacations specifically designed to benefit local communities and preserve nature.

Responsible Travels founder and chief executive Justin Francis has shifted gears and is stepping back to serve in an executive chair role, so that he can focus more on his activism and advisory efforts. Francis also serves the biodiversity lead for the UK’s Council for Sustainable Business.

Meanwhile, the companies new joint managing directors are calling upon others in the travel industry to follow suit and review how their bank deposits are being used by banks, ensuring that the money is not being used to fund the climate crisis that the planet is experiencing.

“Divesting from banks and energy suppliers that invest in fossil fuels are two impactful ways we can help cut carbon and support nature,” Williamson said, according to TTG. “It’s a powerfully positive but often simple act to support renewables, not fossil fuels.

Williamson said that investing with Barclays, during a time when the bank put a whopping $16 billion into fossil fuels, made Responsible Travel “part of that problem.”

Responsible Travel has instead taken its business to UK-based Unity Trust Bank, an institution that focuses on being a “socially responsible, ethical business bank.”

The bank says its savings deposits and lending are designed to “help organizations to grow and make a positive difference to their communities.” The bank also focuses on working with organizations want to “deliver social impact.”

“The world of ethical banking is small, though growing, and it took time to find the right alternative – but the investment values at Unity Trust Bank are a great match for us,” Williamson told TTC.
Last year, Responsible Travel also published its first impact report. The tour operator also puts carbon labels on nearly 900 of the trips it offers.

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