The Great British Beach Clean

The Great British Beach Clean

Barclays colleagues come together across eight UK beaches to tackle plastic pollution


Known as the Blue Planet effect, the plight of our oceans have increasingly become headline news since the BBC broadcast the final episode of the second series back in December 2017. David Attenborough highlighted how plastic in the oceans was having a devastating effect on our marine life and made a call for everyone to do more to protect the environment.

According to Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), every day approximately eight million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans and there may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean, weighing up to 269,000 tonnes. SAS also reports that in the UK, approximately 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach, and there are over 150 plastic bottles littering each mile of the nation’s beaches.

The statistics are shocking and has spurred many to act. One such initiative that is helping to tackle this global issue is The Great British Beach Clean. Running for 25 years, this annual event backed by the Marine Conversation Society (MCS) has been leading the way in tackling ocean pollution and helping make some of the most significant impacts on beach litter. Beach cleans are on the rise and last year The Great British Beach Clean involved 15,000 volunteers who helped survey 494 beaches across the UK and picked up a total of 8,550 kilogrammes of litter.

Colleagues across Barclays proved they are keen to help out and nearly 500 colleagues took part in the 2019 Great British Beach Clean at the end of September.  They visited eight UK beaches and kicked off with a beach survey to assess the amount and types of rubbish on them. This was followed by the groups collecting as much rubbish as they could over the course of the day. In total, our teams collected 24 bags of debris which weighed approximately 52kg. Along with the other volunteers, the data they collected was shared with the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC), contributing to a worldwide report on litter levels. MCS also analyses the data and uses the results to raise awareness of pollution and tackle it at source in the UK.

Rob Cameron, CEO Barclaycard Payment Solutions, Cards & Payments, was in a group with around 100 colleagues which headed to Brighton Beach. Rob Cameron said: “This was my first year taking part and I’m proud of the colleagues who have pioneered this important initiative. This was a great moment for colleagues from across Barclays to take time out and get involved in this citizenship activity to tackle plastic pollution, which is a very real and immediate challenge. It really brings to life Barclays’ commitment to making a positive difference in our communities and I look forward to taking part again next year.” 

Barclays colleagues are a crucial part of Barclays’ approach to Citizenship and are actively encouraged to support the causes in their local community that they most care about. Barclays annual Make a Difference campaign sees thousands of employees around the world come together and volunteer their time, skills and expertise to make a positive impact. The beach clean along with other examples, such as colleagues from Barclays US Consumer Bank helping students pursue a career in the food sector, demonstrates this.