Barclays bank faces landmark investor vote on climate

LONDON - Barclays shareholders filed a landmark resolution asking the bank to phase out the financing of energy companies "driving the climate crisis", a pressure group coordinating the action said.

A total of 11 institutional investors managing more than £130-billion have joined forces with more than 100 individual shareholders for the resolution to be voted on at the British bank's annual general meeting in May, ShareAction said in a statement.

"Today a group of shareholders, coordinated by ShareAction, have taken formal action at Barclays, asking the bank to phase out its financing of fossil fuel companies that are active agents in driving the climate crisis," it said.

UK-based ShareAction added that "the first climate change resolution filed at a European bank requests that Barclays publishes a plan to gradually stop the provision of financial services... to companies in the energy sector, and to gas and electric utilities that are not aligned with the goals of the Paris climate agreement".

READ: Barclays among banks fined over Forex rigging 'cartels'

Companies are under increasing pressure to help cut carbon emissions after Swedish wunderkind Greta Thunberg last year helped to drag the climate emergency into the mainstream. 

The 2015 Paris agreement saw nations commit to limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

On Wednesday, ShareAction said that since the Paris Agreement, Barclays had financed fossil fuel companies and high-carbon projects with more than $85-billion. 

"This makes it the world's sixth-largest backer of fossil fuels, and constitutes the highest level of fossil fuel financing of any European bank, exceeding its peers by over $27-billion," the investor pressure group added. 

In a brief response to ShareAction's statement, Barclays said: "We are working to help tackle climate change, and we meet with ShareAction and other shareholders regularly to update them on our progress."


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