Barclays’ new climate strategy meets a cold reception

Some 19.19 per cent of shareholders voted against the Barclay’s Say on Climate plan, saying that it lacks the ambition needed to address the climate crisis.

Shareholders of Barclays were able to vote on the bank’s climate strategy through a “Say on Climate” vote at its AGM for the first time. In the vote, one in five shareholders voted against management on the climate strategy, with 19.19 per cent voting against. The percentage was just shy of one that would have required action by the bank.

In the UK, a 20 per cent vote against management is used to identify controversial votes. The UK Corporate Governance Code specifies that when 20 per cent or more of votes have been cast against the board recommendation for a resolution, the company “should explain, when announcing voting results, what actions it intends to take to consult shareholders in order to understand the reasons behind the result” and disclose “what impact the feedback has had on the decisions the board has taken and any actions or resolutions now proposed.”

Kelly Shields, Senior project officer at ShareAction, responded: “Today’s voting result shows that a significant fraction of Barclays’ shareholder base continues to be unconvinced by the bank’s climate strategy. They have reason to. Despite being Europe’s largest financier of fossil fuels, Barclays continues to have one of the weakest oil and gas policies in the European banking sector – one it failed to update ahead of its AGM. We call on the bank to formally respond to the vote by updating key elements of its climate strategy by the end of the year.”

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