Barclays Climate Disclosure: ShareAction Analyses the Bank’s Updated Energy Policy

Barclays’ newly revised energy policy has captured the attention of both stakeholders and environmental advocates.
16 April 2024
Barclay's Climate Disclosure

As scrutiny from investor bodies on corporate climate policies intensifies, Barclays’ newly revised energy policy has captured the attention of both stakeholders and environmental advocates. ShareAction’s recent report scrutinises these updates, comparing Barclays’ commitments against industry benchmarks and pinpointing areas needing enhancement. Below, we share a brief overview of the ShareAction report. For more information on the energy update and Barclay’s climate disclosure, you can read the report in full, here.

Overview of the ShareAction Report

The report analyses Barclays’ latest policy changes which are aimed at aligning its financing practices with broader climate objectives. Noteworthy is Barclays’ commitment to discontinue financing new oil and gas expansion projects and related infrastructure—a significant shift from previous fossil fuel-dependent investments. Barclays says it will also now regularly evaluate oil and gas companies to ensure they align with its Client Transition Framework.

Despite these developments, the ShareAction report notes that Barclays’ policy lags behind those of some of its European counterparts. Although Barclays plans to limit financing for ‘pureplay’ upstream companies—those mainly engaged in specific industry sectors without substantial diversification—it continues to make exceptions for projects with extended timelines. According to ShareAction, such exceptions could hinder the achievement of its climate targets.

The report also raises concerns about Barclays’ ongoing financing of entities which are primarily engaged in fossil fuel extraction, such as fracking. The lack of comprehensive prohibitions on these activities exposes both environmental and social vulnerabilities, emphasising a need for more rigorous policies.

The Role of Shareholders in Climate Accountability

ShareAction underscores the pivotal role shareholders play in getting Barclays’ to adhere to its climate commitments. By actively participating in annual general meetings and utilising their voting rights, shareholders can press the bank to close policy gaps and strengthen its climate initiatives. The report encourages shareholders to use their influence to advocate for tighter investment criteria and a broader definition of ‘Energy Groups’ to include all entities involved in upstream oil and gas operations.

Greater Transparency and Accountability

ShareAction say transparency and accountability are essential for banks like Barclays as they navigate the path towards sustainable financing. The non-profit advocates for enhanced disclosure of Barclays’ climate-related activities and their efficacy in mitigating climate risks. Such transparency will not only hold Barclays accountable but also contribute to a more open and responsible financial system.

While Barclays has made some progress in aligning its financing activities with environmental goals, the ShareAction report highlights several challenges that remain. For a deeper understanding and more comprehensive analysis, check out the full report which is available on ShareAction’s website and follow the latest developments on climate advocacy platforms like Say on Climate.

16 April 2024