Daily Management Review

Barclays’ Shareholders Support New Resolution To Reduce Fossil Fuel Investment


Shareholders put pressure on Barclays to set plans for responsible financing.

Source: flickr.com; (CC BY 2.0)  www.solvencyiiwire.com
Source: flickr.com; (CC BY 2.0) www.solvencyiiwire.com
ShareAction is a body of Barclays’ shareholders’ driven by the concept of responsible investment which wants to stop “financing fossil fuels” in a systemic manner. This will generate more pressure on one of the biggest funders of Europe. A resolution has been signed by eleven “institutional investors” which will undergo a voting session during “Barclays’ annual meeting” scheduled to be held in May.
This means the bank will have to make plans to put an end to its practice of financing firms which will not abide by Paris climate agreement. Activists are prompting shareholders while public concerns continue to rise whereby urging companies to invest for battling climate change.
So far, corporate investors have mostly invested in “big oil and gas companies” while their resolution include companies like Royal Dutch Shell, Equinor and BP. The said resolution from Barclays would be the first such attempt from a bank of Europe to face “shareholder action on fossil fuel financing”.
This way, Barclays will step towards going beyond its “previous public comments” in order to fight climate change. The current governor of BoE, Mark Carney is set to leave the bank by January end, who has stated that “financial services industry had been too slow to cut investment in fossil fuels”.
The reason behind Carney’s exit is to join the “United Nations special envoy for climate action”. Moreover, earlier Carney had warned that financial assets may undergo reassessment due to global warming. The above mentioned resolution of Barclays has received open support from eleven investors, including “Brunel Pension Partnership, LGPS Central, Sarasin & Partners and Folksam”. In the words of the Brunel Pension Partnership’s chief executive officer, Laura Chappell:
“The lending practices of many banks pose a serious threat to the goals of the Paris agreement”.
“We hope the Barclays Board formally supports this resolution.”
In fact, Reuters have received information that one of the “20 biggest shareholders” of Barclays could also show support to the proposal as the investor added:
“We’ve said to Barclays we would be minded to support this type of resolution, so you’d better take it seriously”.
Furthermore, if the bank can come up with measure that “satisfy the investors’ demands” even before the scheduled meet in May, the voting session may no longer be required. According to a spokesperson from Barclays:
“We are working to help tackle climate change, and we meet with ShareAction and other shareholders regularly to update them on our progress”.