Barclays’ bosses must have had a serious headache after their AGM, and not just because activists set off the alarms.
Barclays are the largest funder of fossil fuels in Europe, and seventh largest in the world. That makes them a big target for both activists and investors. And just like the HSBC AGM a week before, activists hit that target. Safe to say, activists hit their target, the Barclays AGM was absolute pandemonium. The CEO and board suffered embarrassment after embarrassment as Barclays fossil fuel funding dominated the event.
The calls to phase out fossil fuels started immediately, and only got louder throughout the event. The fire alarm went off to signify the climate emergency that Barclays is pouring cash into.
Disruption after disruption by activist shareholders yesterday at the Barclays AGM.
People are amazing, aren’t they?
— Fossil Free London (@fossilfreeLDN) May 5, 2022
Barclays is making millions from the loans it makes to fossil fuel companies like Exxon, BP, and Shell. That means it’s profiting off climate destruction. And yet Barclays talks about helping these companies to “transition”. The problem is, they’re not transitioning to green. They’re doing the opposite – they’re actually growing their fossil fuel businesses at a time when we need safer, more stable renewable energy that doesn’t… you know… cause wars.
Shareholders took it in turns to interrupt the Barclays speakers to make impassioned speeches calling the bank out for its disproportionately massive financing of the fossil fuel sector.
— Mia Watanabe | 渡辺みあ (@MiaHWatanabe) May 4, 2022
It wasn’t just activists lighting a fire under Barclays’ board (one member of which used to be on the board of BP – go figure). Big investors shunned the glue, megaphones, and personal alarms for a more conservative weapon – voting their shares.
Over 19% of them – nearly a fifth of shareholders – voted AGAINST Barclays’ own climate transition plan. Essentially they sent the same message to the bank as activists: your climate plan is not good enough. 20% doesn’t seem like a lot, but in the UK this is deemed a controversial vote result, and the company is obliged to respond formally about how it will address the unhappy investors.
That really is such a significant result. Investors are much more conservative than we are, and really don’t like to vote against management. This means we’re winning. It means all of the news articles we place, all of the protests and actions we take, all of the reports we write, all of the meetings we have, all of the seats we glue ourselves to, it’s all making a difference.
Read the full live thread here: https://twitter.com/kellyshields145/status/1521765362798317568
Here’s the Share Action response to the Barclays response: https://shareaction.org/news/barclays-shareholders-not-completely-sold-on-banks-new-climate-strategy