Jupiter Asset Management has backed a landmark shareholder resolution calling on Barclays to stop financing fossil fuel producers that are not aligned with the Paris Agreement climate goals.
Jupiter, which is one of Barclays’ top-25 shareholders, has joined 11 other institutional investors and over 100 individual shareholders in backing the motion, which is thought to be the first ever climate change resolution at a European lender.
“As investors, we expect boards and management teams to maintain a long-term mindset and appropriately manage key risks to their business. We see the goals of the resolution as entirely consistent with this approach,” said Ashish Ray, Jupiter’s head of governance and sustainability.
The Paris Agreement established a goal of keeping global warming below two degrees celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, and ideally to limit it to 1.5 degrees.
Barclays is the largest financer of fossil fuels in Europe, and the sixth largest globally. Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, the bank has provided over $85bn of financing to fossil fuel firms and high-carbon projects, according to Share Action, which coordinated the resolution.
Institutional investors including Amundi, Sarasin & Partners and pension fund Nest have all said they will support the resolution at Barclays annual general meeting in May.
Barclays has come under increasing pressure from shareholders and activists alike over its financing of fossil fuel producers.
This morning Greenpeace campaigners targeted almost 100 of the bank’s branches across the country, calling on Barclays to stop “propping up” oil, gas and coal firms and instead channel funds into renewable alternatives.
“Barclays’ top shareholders are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the company’s close ties with the fossil fuel industry in times of raging wildfires, sweeping heatwaves and catastrophic floods,” said Share Action campaign manager Jeanne Martin.
“We urge Barclays to listen to its shareholders,” she added. “A good first step for the bank would be to stop pouring millions into the coal and tar sands industries, two of the most carbon-intensive sources of energy on Earth.”