Barclays said Monday it will have a target of net zero carbon emissions for its financed activities by 2050, in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
The announcement came in response to a shareholder resolution filed by a group of investors led by ShareAction urging the company to reduce what the group called a massive carbon footprint. It was part of the bank's "Environmental, Social and Governance 2019" report published Monday with its new climate policy.
"Barclays will now have an ambition to become a net zero bank by 2050 and a commitment to align all of its financing activities with the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement," the company said. That alignment will start with the energy and power sectors, and eventually cover all sectors. Barclays said it will provide transparent targets for judging its progress and report regularly beginning in 2021.
Barclays said it will provide more detail on its strategy and targets by the end of 2020. "Over the coming months, the board will engage with its shareholders and other stakeholders, including the Investor Forum and ShareAction, as it further develops its strategy and targets," the bank said in its announcement.
Danielle Fugere, president and chief counsel of coalition member group As You Sow, said in a separate statement about the decision that Barclays' decision "is critically important to helping ensure the world meets its climate goal," and that it also "highlights the gap of inaction by U.S. banks, who will continued to see pressure from shareholder resolutions, including an upcoming one with J.P. Morgan Chase."
The As You Sow statement continued, "In contrast to J.P. Morgan, peer banks are beginning to responsibly address their greenhouse gas contributions by developing carbon measurement tools — including the Paris Agreement Capital Transition Assessment and the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials — and setting carbon limits on their financing. HSBC has committed to set a science-based target. ING, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered and other banks have committed to measure the climate alignment of their lending portfolios against Paris goals. Some have abandoned high-risk sectors, including Arctic drilling and tar sands. Citibank joined the Principles for Responsible Banking, committing to align its business strategy with the Paris Agreement's global climate goals."