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Barclays Plans Climate Finance Resolution Amid Activist Pressure

March 30, 2020, 9:04 AM

Barclays Plc said it plans to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero over the next 30 years and only provide finance to projects that align with the temperature reduction goals of the Paris climate accord.

The London-based bank will put the proposal to go “net zero” by 2050 to shareholders for a vote at its annual general meeting in May, according to a statement Monday. The bank would provide transparent targets to allow investors to judge its progress on aligning business with the Paris accord, starting with its activities in the energy and power sectors.

The AGM will also see a vote on a separate proposal, coordinated by the pressure group ShareAction and backed by large investors such as Amundi SA and Jupiter Asset Management, which will call for the phase-out of financing activities to the most carbon-intensive energy companies.

The net zero pledge means Barclays would aim to eliminate as much carbon footprint possible -- from its own operations, such as heating and cooling buildings, but also from the activities it finances -- and offsetting the rest.

Read more: Why a technical debate over ‘scope’ matters

Like other banks, especially in Europe, Barclays is under pressure from activist groups and institutional investors to take more account of environmental and social considerations. The Rainforest Action Network says Barclays is Europe’s largest financier of fossil-fuel companies, providing more than 100 billion pounds ($123 billion) of such funds since the Paris climate accord was signed five years ago.

The ShareAction resolution, filed in January, includes 11 institutional investors, and calls for a phase-out of lending and underwriting to the biggest polluters.

“Voting for both these resolutions will cement the bank’s new high-level climate commitment while at the same time insisting on the near-term ambition needed to deliver the results everyone wants,” said Wolfgang Kuhn, director of finance sector strategies at ShareAction.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Alastair Marsh in London at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Tim Quinson at

Keith Campbell

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