A top-25 shareholder in Barclays has today come out in support of a proposal which asks the bank to gradually phase out the provision of financial services to the fossil fuel sector and utilities that aren’t aligned with the Paris climate goals.
Jupiter Asset Management, which holds 1.15% of Barclays’ shares, has added its name to a list of investors which have agreed to vote for the shareholder resolution, filed by ShareAction, 11 institutional investors, and over 100 individual shareholders.
They join EdenTree, the Church Commissioners, and the Church of England Pensions Board, in asking Barclays to set a transition plan for its lending and underwriting that is aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, Barclays has provided more than $85 billion of finance to fossil fuel companies and high-carbon projects such as tar sands and Arctic oil and gas, according to Rainforest Action Network. 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 US$27 billion.
Ashish Ray, Head of Governance and Sustainability, Jupiter Asset Management, says: “As investors, we expect boards and management teams to maintain a long-term mindset and appropriately manage key risks to their business. We see the goals of the resolution as entirely consistent with this approach. We fully recognise that key risks, including environmental risks, vary between companies. Nevertheless, there are some issues that extend across most, if not all, companies. Climate change is one of these and is therefore an important focus for Jupiter. We firmly support the recommendations of TCFD, which recognises climate change as a board-level issue and seeks disclosure of strategic planning in relation to climate risks, including practical responses to both physical and transition risks. We recognise this is a complex area where shareholders and companies need to work together over the long-term. We will continue actively to engage with investee companies to encourage them to respond appropriately to the TCFD recommendations.”
Jeanne Martin, Campaign Manager, ShareAction, says: “Barclays’ top shareholders are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the company’s close ties with the fossil fuel industry in times of raging wildfires, sweeping heatwaves and catastrophic floods. We urge Barclays to listen to its shareholders and commit to phasing out support for the fossil fuel industry and utilities that are not aligned with the Paris climate goals. A good first step for the bank would be to stop pouring millions into the coal and tar sands industries, two of the most carbon-intensive sources of energy on Earth.”
Notes to editors:
• For more information, please contact Beau O’Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 203 475 7859
• The full text of the resolution and supporting statement can be seen here.
• According to Bloomberg, Jupiter is currently among the 25 largest shareholders in Barclays (24th). Its shareholding on Bloomberg is currently listed as 0.77%, which understates its position, according to Jupiter.
• Jupiter’s AUM was £42.8bn at 31 December 2019
• The 11 institutional investors who co-filed this resolution are the following: Arcus Foundation, As You Sow, Brunel Pension Partnership, the Central Board of the Methodist Church, Falkirk Council Pension Fund, Folksam, Jesuits in Britain, Lankelly Chase, LGPS Central, Merseyside Pension Fund, and Sarasin & Partners.