Amundi, Europe's largest asset manager, is backing a shareholder vote urging Barclays to stop offering loans to fossil fuel companies.
A group of institutional investors managing more than £130bn in assets along with individual shareholders, coordinated by investor activist group ShareAction, filed a shareholder resolution on Jan. 8, asking Barclays to end financing to energy companies not aligned with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
An Amundi spokesperson said that the firm intends to vote in favour of the resolution.
Amundi reiterates its priority on the question of the energy transition and the decarbonisation of the economy"
"According to its voting policy for 2020, Amundi reiterates its priority on the question of the energy transition and the decarbonisation of the economy. And as such, we are favourable to any resolutions from shareholders that ask issuers to be more transparent around environmental and social factors. Therefore, the resolution of ShareAction is perfectly in line with our policy," the spokesperson told The Guardian.
Amundi has a minor stake in Barclays - around 0.02%. However, the outfit's public support of the resolution could inspire other companies to do the same. Amundi plans to apply ESG ratings to all its investment funds by 2021.
Campaign group ShareAction is handling the campaign, with the Church of England also backing the resolution, which is also the first of its kind to be brought against a bank in the UK.
The move comes as banks face increasing pressure to rein in their funding to fossil fuels, and Barclays has been singled out for its heavy exposure to the sector. The British bank ranked as the world's sixth-largest financier of fossil fuels in a 2019 report from BankTrack, a watchdog group that monitors lenders' exposure to fossil fuels.
A spokesperson for Barclays said: "We continue to engage with ShareAction and other stakeholders on this issue and will make a further statement at the appropriate time".
Barclays has its annual investor meeting coming up in May.