Barclays’ administrators have authorized duties to behave on local weather

As Barclays prepares to determine if it should assist a main local weather decision tabled by shareholders, we’re reminding board members of their authorized duties to deal with local weather change dangers.

In a letter to Barclays’ Board, ClientEarth CEO James Thornton has reminded board members of their authorized obligations to deal with local weather change dangers and has urged them to formally assist the decision.

Banks are dragging their toes on the local weather disaster

Local weather change negatively impacts communities and the atmosphere, and it additionally destroys wealth. Bodily belongings and operations are already being hit by excessive climate, and that is set to worsen. Monetary establishments face climate-related dangers that go far past the difficulty of social accountability – threatening to destabilise the worldwide economic system and destroy trillions in worth.

Banks have a significant function to play within the transition away from fossil fuels. But, they’re massively investing in a number of the most carbon-intensive and polluting industries. For the reason that Paris Settlement was signed in December 2015, 33 of the world’s largest banks have invested some US$1.9 trillion into fossil gas firms.

Public stress is mounting. Our current survey reveals that greater than six in ten folks (62%) didn’t know that their financial institution could possibly be investing their cash in fossil fuels, and 67% of younger folks suppose monetary establishments and banks must be legally accountable in the event that they don’t ditch fossil fuels.

And after years of opaque practices from banks, the investor neighborhood is now urging banks to align their fossil gas financing with the Paris local weather objectives.

The primary climate-related shareholder decision at a European financial institution

In January, 11 main buyers filed a decision asking Barclays — one of many UK’s high banks — to section out its financing of fossil gas firms that aren’t aligned with the Paris local weather objectives. It’s the primary climate-related shareholder decision at a European financial institution.

Since 2015, Barclays has invested US$85 billion into fossil gas firms. That makes it the most important financier of fossil fuels in Europe, rating sixth on the earth.

Spearheaded by charity ShareAction, the decision was filed by buyers collectively managing £130bn. This consists of British public pension funds Brunel Pension Partnership and LGPS Central, in addition to 100 particular person shareholders.

Since then, a number of influential buyers together with Amundi, Nest and The Church Commissioners have introduced they might vote in favour of the decision.

Attorneys weigh in

ClientEarth attorneys argue that any choice by Barclays to actively proceed supporting companies which might be immediately accelerating world temperature rise makes the financial institution complicit within the environmental and financial harm these companies trigger.

James Thornton stated: “Monetary heavyweights like Barclays maintain our monetary and environmental future of their arms and the regulation requires their administrators to behave. Board members can select to be on the proper facet of historical past by recommending a vote in favour of ShareAction’s local weather decision.”

ClientEarth additionally contends that Barclays can’t declare to be pursuing alignment with the Paris Settlement until and till it has adopted and acted upon the actions directed by the decision.

Given Barclays’ place as a founder and co-signatory of the Ideas of Accountable Banking, which commits signatories to align with the Paris Settlement, ClientEarth says that snubbing the decision could also be seen as “hypocritical and deceptive”.

Buyers will vote on the decision at Barclays’ annual normal assembly in Might 2020. Barclays’ Board will difficulty its voting suggestion on this decision imminently in its discover for the annual normal assembly.

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