Jan 8, 2020

Barclays pressed to stop financing some fossil fuel groups

Barclays is under pressure to stop financing some fossil fuel companies after a group of shareholders filed a landmark climate change resolution for the British bank's annual investor meeting, thrusting the European financial industry to the centre of the debate on global warming. Jeanne Martin, campaign manager at ShareAction, the charity that has co-ordinated the shareholders, said Barclays was singled out because it lags behind its peers and ranks as the biggest financier of fossil fuel companies in Europe. According to ShareAction, Barclays has provided more than $85bn of finance to fossil fuel companies and high-carbon projects since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. It said this makes it the world's sixth-largest backer of fossil fuels, and constitutes the highest level of fossil fuel financing of any European bank, exceeding its peers by $27bn. One person briefed on Barclays' climate policy said it was unfair to compare its exposure to fossil fuel companies with other European banks because it has a large US investment bank, arguing that shareholders should instead consider it alongside Wall Street peers.

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