LONDON – British bank Barclays said on Tuesday disruption in energy markets since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could hamper its ability to meet its carbon emission reduction targets.
In a notice ahead of its annual investor meeting, Barclays also said it was planning more restrictive policies on coal, including final exit dates on a “progressive phase-out” of thermal coal financing.
The announcement from Barclays comes as other British lenders such as HSBC likewise toughen their climate commitments, in response to pressure from activists who have mustered major shareholders to support their stance.
HSBC last week said it would further reduce financing to the fossil fuel industry, publish more data on how it is implementing its goals and link progress on that to executive pay.
Barclays said it would phase out financing of thermal coal mining by 2030 in OECD countries and by 2035 in the rest of the world.
The lender will also no longer take on new financing clients that generate more than 5% of their revenue from thermal coal mining from the start of 2023.
The Ukraine crisis could threaten progress towards the bank’s climate targets, it added.
“We should recognise that the conflict currently taking place in Ukraine has greatly exacerbated existing supply pressures on energy systems, particularly in the UK and the EU,” the bank said.
“In the near term, the current disruptions may increase volatility in our progress towards our 2025 and 2030 emission reduction targets.”
Barclays says shareholders will be given a ‘Say on Climate’ vote at this year’s annual general meeting in Manchester, northern England, on May 4.