BlackRock has for over a decade used an independent fiduciary to vote proxies where we are required by regulation not to vote ourselves or where there are actual or perceived conflicts of interest. The independent fiduciary makes voting decisions based solely on BlackRock’s publicly available proxy voting guidelines, which aim to advance our clients’ long-term economic interests, and public information disclosed by the relevant company.
…Although we do not vote proxies directly (for the reason explained above), consistent with our fiduciary duty we engage with the company to provide feedback on governance and business practices. As such, we have engaged extensively with various board, executive and sustainability team members at Barclays over the last several years on a range of issues driving long-term shareholder value, including board composition and effectiveness, remuneration, business oversight and risk management, climate risk management and corporate strategy and culture.
In January 2020, a coalition of investors filed a shareholder resolution (Resolution 30) asking Barclays to set and disclose targets to phase out the provision of financial services to the energy sector, as well as electric and gas utility companies that are not aligned with Articles 2.1(a) and 4.1 of the Paris Agreement.
Following engagement with its shareholders and other stakeholders, including BlackRock, Barclays announced on 30th March 2020 updated ambitions with respect to tackling climate change. Barclays proposed its own resolution (Resolution 29) at its annual general meeting (AGM) to commit the company to a strategy, with targets, for alignment of its entire financing portfolio to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Barclays has committed to provide further details of the strategy by the end of the year.
…Additionally, in the company’s latest ESG report, published concurrently with its climate strategy announcement, it enhanced its ESG disclosures by reporting for the first time against the framework established by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).
- Approve Barclays' Commitment to Tackling Climate Change
Barclays announced on 30th March 2020 updated ambitions with respect to tackling climate change. Barclays proposed its own resolution (Resolution 29) at its annual general meeting (AGM) to commit the company to a strategy, with targets, for alignment of its entire financing portfolio to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Barclays has committed to provide further details of the strategy by the end of the year.
The independent fiduciary reported that it took into consideration several factors when voting to support the company’s own climate change resolution (Resolution 29) and against the shareholder resolution (Resolution 30). Support for both resolutions would have been problematic as they are both binding. The independent fiduciary determined that, as outlined in Resolution 29, the company sets a clear ambition to become net-zero and align to the goals of the Paris Agreement, addressing shareholders’ concerns for the time being.