On Wednesday, 22 September 2010, President of Barclays Bob Diamond, attended the Clinton Global Initiative's (CGI) 2010 Annual Meeting in New York and participated in a panel entitled "Strengthening Market-Based Solutions" featuring leaders in business and government discussing the use of markets to source and scale solutions to global challenges.
Bob noted that it was important to encourage employees and company leaders at the firm to be involved in charity: "The thing at Barclays that makes me most happy is of 150,000 employees around the world, over a third of them are actively involved in giving back to the community and personally involved away from anything that Barclays is doing for them. And we're trying to create an ethos and a culture within the organization that it's important by getting the senior people out, getting them involved and making sure that they have time to do it."
He also underscored that "strong banks want strong regulation" and called for the comprehensive regulation coming into place through Basel III and US financial reform to be paired with a return to risk taking. "With the financial crisis we've been through for three years now, every bank has made mistakes, but we need get back to understanding that businesses, entrepreneurs and especially banks need to take risk.
And we have to find a way to balance a safer and sounder financial system with banks that are willing and able and good at taking risks and that's what is going to foster job growth and economic growth," Bob said.
Our presence in Africa was also cited by Bob as an example of Barclays commitment to sustainability. "Sustainability is so important to everything that we do. It's about investing for the long term and running a business for the long term. We wouldn't be doing what we're doing today in Africa if we were in this for the short run," he said.
Banking on Change, Barclays global community investment programme, was recognised at the CGI Annual Meeting for promoting access to basic financial services in disadvantaged communities across 11 countries in Africa, Asia and South America through savings-led community finance projects.
Heads of state, government and business leaders, scholars and directors of non-governmental organisations were invited to the CGI 2010 Annual Meeting. Hosted by former US President Bill Clinton, the event's objective is to discuss global social issues and implement solutions to the challenges.