Environment

Blow for Barclays as 20% of shareholders reject local weather technique | Banking

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Shareholders dealt an embarrassing blow to Barclays’ local weather credentials on Wednesday, with virtually 20% rejecting the financial institution’s local weather technique as activists disrupted its annual assembly to protest in opposition to the financial institution’s financing of fossil fuels.

Barclays stated on Wednesday that 19.19% of voting shareholders had been in opposition to the financial institution’s local weather technique, which set out its plans and progress in direction of targets to succeed in web zero emissions by 2050.

Practically 11% additionally opposed the financial institution’s pay coverage, after influential proxy shareholder adviser Glass Lewis raised issues over the pay packet for its new chief executive CS Venkatakrishnan, which incorporates mounted pay of £2.7m and a long-term incentive plan value as much as 140% of his wage (about £3.8m).

It capped an embarrassing annual assembly for the financial institution, the place local weather activist teams, together with Extinction Rebellion and its offshoot, Cash Riot, set off alarms and glued themselves to chairs with the intention to keep away from being faraway from the Manchester Central Conference Complicated.

Shareholders additionally disrupted the annual assembly held by Standard Chartered in London, amid issues over the banking group’s local weather observe report.

Barclays chair Nigel Higgins instructed safety guards to take away protesters after he was interrupted a number of occasions, and compelled to delay the beginning of the occasion for almost an hour.

“Barclays Financial institution is morally bankrupt,” one activist shouted. “Barclays has ploughed $160bn [£128bn] into fossil gasoline extraction,” one other declared.

Campaigners at Extinction Riot declare Barclays has continued to speculate closely in fossil fuels – having put greater than £15bn into the trade in 2021 – whereas protesters accused the lender of “greenwashing”.

Higgins, who turned more and more exasperated as interruptions continued, informed protesters the financial institution wouldn’t promise to instantly halt funding in fossil fuels, however insisted Barclays was dedicated to hit web zero emissions targets.

“We get the purpose. We share the ambition and are aligning the IEA [International Energy Agency] situations with the targets that we’re setting, however there’s a hell of lots else that must be performed to make that situation come to fruition,” he stated.

Barclays stated there had been “intensive engagement with stakeholders round this concern forward of the AGM and during the last 12 months and we tremendously worth the enter and suggestions supplied … we’re conscious of a spectrum of views throughout the share register, however we’re happy nearly all of shareholders have supported the decision and we’ll proceed to interact round this concern and look ahead to offering an replace on inexperienced financing later within the 12 months”.

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