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Support shareholders calling for Barclays to take action on climate

Next month, Barclays will hold their Annual General Meeting (AGM). This is where shareholders have a chance to vote and raise questions on the business. This year, a group of shareholders, led by ShareAction, have submitted a resolution asking the bank to phase out its financing of fossil fuel companies that are active agents in driving the climate crisis.

Barclays are the largest financier of fossil fuel projects in Europe, providing $85bn of fossil fuel financing between 2016-18[1]. It is also a top 10 financier of all extreme fossil fuels over 2016-2019, including Arctic oil, coal, fracking, and tar sands[2]. Their decision to support these projects and companies directly frustrates efforts to meet the UN Paris Agreement, the global commitment aiming to strengthen the world response to the climate crisis. 

The full shareholder resolution can be found here and was filed by 11 institutional investors, including the Brunel Pension Partnership, who manage �30bn for local government pension schemes. The resolution has subsequently been backed by Nest, the UK�s largest pension provider with 8.5 million members, Amundi, Europe�s largest asset manager, and Jupiter, who own 1.15% of Barclays� shares.

Following the submission of the shareholder resolution, Barclays have filed a counter-resolution containing an �ambition� to be net-zero by 2050, which will also be voted on at the AGM. This represents the strength of investor pressure calling for Barclays to take action on the climate crisis. This 'ambition', however, comes with no formal commitment and does not lay out any formal strategy for alignment with the Paris Agreement, and is therefore not enough on its own. 

We are calling on universities to support both the resolutions. This could be directly, if universities are investors themselves and therefore have a vote, or indirectly, using their position as reputable institutions to publicly announce support for the resolutions and call for investors to vote in favour of them.

So what can you do?

Boycott Barclays Cambridge, an emergent coalition of student groups working to stop the financing of fossil fuel projects by major banks - focusing firstly on Barclays - have produced a template for students to send to their university's finance managers. The template can be edited for each institution and asks universities to support the call for Barclays to take action on the climate crisis. 

Template HERE.

People and Planet have a helpful tool to explore the sectors investments in fossil fuels. See if you can find out where your university's investments sit, and who they bank with, in here.

ShareAction are also asking individuals to email their pension providers to vote in support of the resolutions. Find out more here.

And finally, join the Divest Barclays campaign! People and Planet support student groups across the country to get universities to break ties with Barclays, as well as engaging in direct action to publicly pressure the bank to change its practices.

For more information on this, or any of our Divest-Invest work, contact Mel Kee at melanie.kee@sos-uk.org.