The questions I am asked most frequently are “What exactly is ‘Citizenship’ and why is it important to Barclays?”. First and foremost, Citizenship is not about philanthropy. And nor is it a moral quest. Quite simply, Citizenship is about establishing the right culture and leadership, considering the impact of our decisions on society, and driving commercial success while also delivering the best results for all of our stakeholders.
Healthy economies need strong banks to drive economic growth and social progress. And in this day and age, progressive market-leading companies are rightly expected to deploy their business activities in a way that delivers a net positive benefit to society, while also demonstrating how doing so is an integral part of their purpose and business model.
From the very beginning, Barclays has consistently played a role in driving economic growth and social progress. Our history can be traced back to two Quakers, John Freame and Thomas Gould, who established a business based on what many would consider to be the very concept of Citizenship. They relied on their own hard work and moral code to become trusted and respected figures within their communities – and they conducted their business always with the benefit of wider society front of mind.
Today, Citizenship is critical to the future success of our business. When embedded in the right way, with the right approach and partnerships, Citizenship can improve the lives of people in the communities in which we serve, while at the same time providing commercial benefit and competitive advantage. But it’s not good enough to think, wish and hope. You must have an ambitious plan, and then act with both integrity and consistency to deliver that plan. This is why we have just announced our Shared Growth Ambition.