Share Action

Shareholders urge Barclays to stop financing new oil and gas fields

A group of over ten investors issue call at Barclays’ AGM for the bank to commit to stop direct finance for oil and gas

(Wednesday 3rd May) Today, a coalition of investors, coordinated by ShareAction, will call on Barclays at its annual general meeting to end financing new oil and gas fields, in line with other major banks’ policies such as HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group.

In a statement to be read out on behalf of investors including Brunel Pension Partnership, Candriam, and Northern LGPS at the AGM, the bank, will also be urged to introduce restrictions for companies it finances which are themselves expanding oil and gas extraction. Barclays are presently the second biggest European provider of financing to oil and gas companies with expansion plans.

Jeanne Martin, Head of Banking Programme at ShareAction, said: “Despite taking some important steps forward in the past year, such as cutting oil sands financing, Barclays has failed to fully match its oil and gas policy to its own net zero goal. This despite clear warnings from the International Energy Agency that there is no room for new oil and gas fields if we want to keep global warming below a 1.5C temperature rise.

“As a major international bank, Barclays’ financing decisions will have a significant impact on the world’s chances for reaching net zero by 2050 and averting the worst effects of the climate crisis, such as extreme weather events and flooding.

“Yet, the bank is now falling behind minimum levels of ambition for climate in the industry. Barclays needs to act now and address the concerns of its shareholders and stop directly funding new oil and gas fields, and take action against the companies behind these new fields.”

In February, 27 investors worth $1.4 trillion in assets under management wrote to Barclays to ask the bank to commit to stop directly financing new oil and gas fields, and turn its attention to the companies behind these fields.

Separately, ShareAction will also ask a question on behalf of indigenous activists at the AGM around the banks’ Rio Grande Valley project. This followed indigenous activists from the United States and Mexico visiting the UK in November to meet with Barclays to discuss the harmful effects of fracking on their communities and to ask them to stop financing these projects.

Another question will be put to the board by the responsible investment NGO on lobbying. Barclays was one of two of Europe's largest 25 banks to have committed to aligning its lobbying activities with the goals of the Paris climate agreement. However, the bank remains a member of the US Chamber of Commerce, which has actively obstructed the introduction of climate legislation in the US, according to InfluenceMap.

Notes to editors

The full investor statement can be read here.

The investor signatories include AkademikerPension, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Brunel Pension Partnership, Candriam, Ethos Foundation, Ethos Engagement Pool International, Falkirk Council Pension Fund, Folksam, Grünfin, Merseyside Pension Fund, Nest, and Northern LGPS.

According to a ShareAction report published in February 2022, Barclays is the second biggest European provider of financing for the top 50 oil and gas expanders, having provided over US $48 billion between 2016 and 2021.

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