Institution Theme Category Industry
  • State Street
  • Environmental
  • Climate
  • Financial Services
Company Year Market Link
Barclays plc 2020 N/A https://www.ssga.com/library-content/products/esg/asset-stewardship-report-q2-2020.pdf

In January 2020, the UK charity and campaigning organization Share Action filed a climate related shareholder resolution at Barclays plc to be voted on by investors at the company’s 7th of May annual meeting. The resolution sought to direct Barclays to “phase out of the provision of financial services to companies within the energy and utilities sectors that are not aligned with the Paris Agreement.” This vote was especially high profile as it marked the first time a European bank faced such a climate-related shareholder proposal.
Following engagements with shareholders and Share Action, Barclays announced on the 30th of March a plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and a commitment to align all of its financing activities with the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement. The company also submitted a management resolution at the AGM asking shareholders to endorse its plan and commitment. The alignment of Barclays’ portfolio will first focus on the energy and power sectors, and will cover all sectors over time. Progress against its plan will be reported annually, starting from 2021. In our April 2020 engagement with the chairman of the board of Barclays, we communicated our support of the firm’s updated climate strategy, which sets a new benchmark in the banking sector.

Details

  • Proponent
  • Shareholder
  • Resolution
  • Climate-related Shareholder Proposal- Net-Zero Carbon-Emissions Target for 2050
  • Vote
  • For Management Proposal, Abstain from Shareholder's Proposal
  • Rationale
  • N/A
  • Details
  • We opted to support Barclays’ resolution and abstain from the resolution submitted by Share Action because:
    • Barclays’ proposal was the more ambitious of the two. Further, Barclays’ ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 covers all of its portfolio, not just lending, as proposed by Share Action’s resolution.
    • The resolution submitted by Barclays sought to transition its provision of financial services across all sectors to align with the Paris Agreement, whereas Share Action’s resolution was too narrowly focused on the “phase out” of specific financial services in the energy and power sectors. In our view, such a narrow focus could have limited the flexibility of the company to deliver a more broad transition strategy to a lower-carbon economy.
    • The passing of both resolutions could have created legal uncertainties, as they are both binding
    Share Action’s resolution was defeated at the AGM, receiving 24% of votes cast, whereas Barclays’ resolution was adopted, receiving more than 99% support.