Brunel Pension Partnership co-file a shareholder resolution at Barclays AGM, putting climate change centre stage for the banking sector

An FCA regulated firm, Brunel Pension Partnership (Brunel) is one of eight national Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Pools, bringing together circa £30 billion investments of 10 likeminded funds. Brunel manage the investment assets for the pension funds of Avon, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Environment Agency, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. Brunel are primarily responsible for the creation of investment portfolios, the appointment, and monitoring of investment managers.

Institutional investors managing over £130bn including Brunel Pension Partnership, have filed a shareholder resolution at Barclays alongside over 100 individual shareholders, led by ShareAction, the responsible investment charity. It will be voted on by investors at Barclays’ annual general meeting in May 2020.

This landmark resolution – the first climate change resolution filed at a European bank – requests that Barclays publishes a plan to gradually stop the provision of financial services to companies in the energy sector, and to gas and electric utilities that are not aligned with the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, Barclays has provided more than US $85 billion of finance to fossil fuel companies and high-carbon projects such as tar sands and Arctic oil and gas. 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 over US$27 billion.

The proposal also encourages Barclays to consider the social dimension of the transition to a resilient and low-carbon economy, as per the Paris Agreement. This makes it the first climate change resolution to include a so-called ‘just transition’ ask in its supporting statement. Investors representing more than US $5 trillion have already expressed support for the just transition. This resolution represents a significant opportunity for Barclays to bring its lending practices in line with global climate ambition and play an active role in accelerating the low-carbon transition. Shareholders filing the resolution have signalled their hope that Barclays board will choose to respond positively by recommending a vote in favour at May's AGM.

Laura Chappell, CEO of Brunel Pension Partnership, says: “Brunel Pension Partnership Limited (Brunel) believes climate change poses significant risks to global financial stability and could thereby create climate-related financial risks to our own business operations, portfolios and client partner funds, unless action is taken to mitigate these risks. We believe that it is crucial for investors to carry out climate change risk assessments across the whole financial chain. As banks are the biggest lenders, they are a key component of this. The lending practices of many banks poses a serious threat to the goals to the Paris agreement. As such, we welcome ShareAction’s call to the world’s largest banks to integrate climate change risk assessment and to set and disclose adequate phase-out targets in response. We hope the Barclays Board formally supports this resolution.”

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