HSBC commits to become a net zero emissions bank

The UK-based bank will prioritise investments that support transition to low-carbon economy

HSBC has announced that it will prioritise financing and investment that supports the transition to a net zero global economy.

The British bank said in a statement on Friday that it would align its financed emissions – the carbon emissions generated by its customers’ portfolio – with the Paris Agreement goal to achieve net zero by 2050 or sooner. The bank also aims to be net zero in its operations and supply chain by 2030.

“As we enter a pivotal decade of change, we have a landmark opportunity to accelerate our efforts to build a healthier, more resilient and more sustainable future. Our net zero ambition represents a material step up in our support for customers as we collectively work towards building a thriving low carbon economy,” said HSBC Group chief executive Noel Quinn.

We have a landmark opportunity to accelerate our efforts to build a healthier, more resilient and more sustainable future

Fifty-five firms, including HSBC, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, banks and insurance companies, committed to a framework last week to set climate goals specific to mortgages, bonds and other asset classes in their portfolios.

The 2015 Paris climate agreement asks countries to aim to limit Earth’s temperature increase to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

HSBC will develop tailored financial products to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The bank will also prioritise financing and investment that contributes to the low carbon transition, the statement added.

The bank aims to support customers with between $750 billion and $1 trillion of finance and investment by 2030 to help with their transition. It will also work in partnership with its peers, customers, regulators, governments and wider society to effect change across the financial system.

The financial institution has already created the HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management which will establish a series of funds that will invest in activities that preserve and enhance nature over the long term and address climate change.

HSBC has also set up a $100 million venture debt fund for CleanTech innovation. It also aims to roll out a philanthropic programme to donate $100m to scale climate innovation ventures and renewable energy solutions between now and 2025.

In 2017, HSBC had committed $100bn of sustainable finance by 2025.

“However, the bank recognises that achieving the Paris Agreement goal will require extra effort, at a faster pace, and plans to use its scale and global reach to seek to accelerate the transition to net zero,” the statement added.