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Shareholders Urge Major Bank To Stop Funding Fossil Fuel Companies

Fossil Fuel Funding

A group of Barclays shareholders has demanded that the banking major stop providing financing to oil and gas companies, and power utilities, whose business is not in tune with the climate change targets stipulated in the Paris Agreement.

According to a Business Green report, the shareholders, who collectively manage assets worth over $170 billion, along with 100 individual investors, will table a resolution on the topic at Barclays annual shareholder meeting in May.

The shareholder plan is coordinated by a group called ShareAction that seeks to make the investment system more responsible.

“Our movement demands reform in the ways large investors make decisions and account for them. This in turn helps to unlock more enlightened investor dialogue with underlying companies,” the group says on its website.

Regarding the resolution that the Barclays shareholder group plans to present at the bank’s AGM, ShareAction said it was the first one filed at a European bank that aims to tackle climate change. It will target all energy companies and cover areas including project financing,  corporate financing, and underwriting, Business Green reported.

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"Aligning financial flows with the goal of keeping temperature increases well below 2C, and preferably to 1.5C, was hard-wired into the Paris Climate Agreement for good reason," said Natasha Landell-Mills from one of the institutional investors backing the resolution, Sarasin & Partners. "Continued financing of harmful fossil fuel activities puts this target at risk, with potentially devastating consequences for us all. And yet, this is precisely what is happening today, and Barclays is amongst the most prolific bank financiers globally of such activities."

Not all banks are waiting for shareholder action, however. Goldman Sachs last month announced a commitment of $750 billion for sustainable projects, to be distributed over the next ten years. The bank also said it will curb its investments in the fossil fuel industry, cutting off all future investment in Arctic oil exploration and production.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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