Wednesday 5 February 2020 12:56 pm

Barclays under pressure from second investor group over fossil fuel financing

Barclays is facing increased pressure over its financing of fossil fuel producers, as it emerged that a second influential shareholder group is pushing the bank to adopt stricter climate change policies. 

The Investor Forum, whose 50 members control £18.5 trillion assets, has held discussions with the British lender over its climate policies, the Financial Times reported. 

A source involved with the investor group told the paper that Barclays, which is the biggest financier of fossil fuel companies in Europe, was lagging behind its European peers. 

“In 2019, climate was on the agenda [during conversations between the Investor Forum and the bank], but down the list. Climate has now become the agenda, coming up to the AGM,” they said. 

Climate change was already set to be centre stage at Barclays’ annual meeting in May, after a group of shareholders filed a landmark resolution demanding the lender tighten its environmental policies. 

The resolution, which was launched by Share Action, is thought to be the first climate-related resolution at a European bank. It demands that Barclays stop financing fossil fuel companies that are not aligned with the Paris Agreement’s climate goals. 

The Paris Agreement includes the aim of keeping global warming well below two degrees celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, and ideally limit it to 1.5 degrees. 

Since the agreement was signed in 2015, Barclays has provided over $85bn of financing to fossil fuel firms and high-carbon projects, according to figures from Share Action. 

A spokesperson for Barclays said: “We continue to engage with Share Action and other stakeholders on this issue and will make a further statement at the appropriate time.”

The Investor Forum declined to comment on the reports.