Today, shareholders overwhelmingly voted in favour of adding Paris-alignment to Barclay’s Articles of Association. This means directors have an explicit duty to run their business in a way that contributes to bringing down carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. This represents a huge step forward for Barclays, for which the Board should be commended. It also offers a powerful model for others. All banks – indeed all companies – should be looking hard at whether they too should hardwire a Paris commitment into their governing statutes. This is not just the right thing to do for society, it is also vital to protect shareholder capital into the future.
Barclays’ resolution was triggered by a shareholder resolution, coordinated by ShareAction and co-filed by Sarasin, asking the bank to phase out financing for fossil fuels and utility companies that are not aligned with the Paris climate goals. While our resolution was not passed, almost a quarter of shareholders supported it (and a further 10% or so abstained – thereby declining to support the Board’s rejection). With over 20% support, Barclays will formally have to respond to its shareholders.
You can find the press statements from ShareAction here: