Brunel Pension Partnership and Merseyside Pension Fund have said they will vote in favour of the climate resolution proposed by Barclays, but also the one they have co-filed.
In a statement, the local government pension scheme (LGPS) investors said the proposal put forward by Barclays’ board was “a significant step forward”, but that the shareholder resolution requisitioned by ShareAction, which they co-filed, would complement and strengthen the bank’s commitments.
“While Barclays’ own resolution sets out an overarching 2050-ambition encompassing all financing across all sectors, the shareholder resolution ensures a greater focus on short and medium-term actions needed in order to achieve that goal,” they wrote.
Owen Thorne, portfolio manager for monitoring and responsible investment at Merseyside, told IPE the pension funds wanted to pre-declare their voting intention and “to do so in a way that encourages other asset owners, especially LGPS, to vote in support of both climate resolutions ahead of the cut-off for submitting proxy voting instructions”.
“The intention is to be sending the company the strongest message possible at the AGM of investor expectations on them to deliver a credible plan in November 2020 for moving the bank toward Paris alignment.”
The shareholder resolution in question was led by campaign group ShareAction and co-filed by 11 institutional investors, including Brunel and Merseyside.
It directs Barclays to set and disclose targets to phase out its financing of fossil fuel companies within the energy and power sector that are not aligned with the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
Barclays followed the filing of the shareholder resolution with an announcement about its own proposal.
As per that resolution, the bank would “set an ambition to become a net-zero bank by 2050”, covering Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions, and also disclose and implement a strategy, with targets, “to transition its provision of financial services across all sectors to align with the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement”.
According to Brunel and Merseyside, the shareholder resolution “gives a necessary steer to the implementation of the resolution put forward by Barclays’ board”.
Barclays’ AGM is on 7 May. Because of the coronavirus situation, it is being held virtually. Brunel and Merseyside said investors would not be enabled to ask questions on the day, which led them to “question the transparency” of the planned AGM.