Today two UK institutions have confirmed they will support two shareholder proposals calling on Barclays to align its provision of finance with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
M&G Investments and EOS, the stewardship provider at Federated Hermes, have said they will support the shareholder-led resolution, filed in January by ShareAction and institutional investors, calling on Barclays to set targets to phase out its provision of financial services to fossil fuels and utility companies that are not aligned with the Paris climate goals.
They will also support the resolution announced in response by the Barclays board, which would commit the bank to set an ambition to become a ‘net-zero’ bank by 2050.
Jupiter Asset Management, Amundi, Nest, Church of England Pensions Board, and EdenTree have also publicly stated they will back the shareholder-led resolution.
Jeanne Martin, campaign manager at ShareAction, says: “Barclays’ ambition, while a positive result for investor engagement, leaves a lot of unanswered questions about the bank’s harmful financing activities in the short-term since it fails to commit to ‘phase-out’ of support for fossil fuels. Voting for both resolutions is a way for investors to guarantee Barclays joins the dots between its long-term ambition and its current fossil fuel financing activities.”
Ben Constable-Maxwell, Head of sustainable and impact investing, M&G Investments, says: “The banking sector’s lending activities have the potential to accelerate or mitigate the risks of climate change. Current events highlight that now more than ever it is important that corporate boards focus on managing risks and building resilience for the future. We therefore support Barclays’ updated climate change approach and recently announced ambition to become a net zero bank by 2050. We consider this to be an encouraging step forward, and one that demonstrates the value of constructive engagement by shareholders and stakeholders.
“We also support the resolution previously co-filed by ShareAction and other investors, which calls for the bank to “to gradually phase out the provision of financial services to the fossil fuel sector and utilities that aren’t aligned with the Paris climate goal”. We believe the targets called for by this resolution will act as important milestones in translating Barclays’ long-term ambition into action.”
Roland Bosch, Lead Engager – EOS, Federated Hermes, commented: “We welcome and support Barclays’ proposed climate change resolution, articulating its ambition to become a net zero bank and commitment to align the provision of financial services to the goals and timelines of the Paris agreement. We also support the ShareAction resolution, which we believe is complementary to Barclays’ approach. In particular we support its emphasis on the timely phase-out of financing to entities that are not aligned to the Paris Goals, which we believe is a critical element of any bank’s low carbon transition strategy.”
 EOS acts on behalf of its stewardship clients
Notes to editors:
- For more information, please contact Beau O’Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org or +447950 299 491
- The full text of the resolution and supporting statement can be seen here.
- 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.
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Federated Hermes is a leading global investment manager with $575.9 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, 2019. Guided by our conviction that responsible investing is the best way to create wealth over the long term, our investment solutions span 135 equity, fixed-income, alternative/private markets, multi-asset and liquidity management strategies and a range of separately managed account strategies. Providing world-class active investment management and engagement services to more than 11,000 institutions and intermediaries, our clients include corporations, government entities, insurance companies, foundations and endowments, banks and broker/dealers. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Federated Hermes’ over 1,800 employees include those in London, New York, Boston and several other offices worldwide. For more information, visit FederatedHermes.com. This communication has been distributed by the international business of Federated Hermes.