After facing criticism over its climate change policies from shareholders and environmental activists, the bank has announced it will cut direct financing to fossil fuel projects it isn’t already involved with.
Part of its policy to support a net-zero transition, HSBC has announced it will stop funding new oil and gas field developments.
The move, which environmental activists say sends a ‘strong signal’ to fossil fuel giants and governments that investment is finally beginning to wane, comes after Europe’s biggest bank was accused of misleading consumers and greenwashing its reputation by The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
‘We will no longer provide new lending or capital markets finance for the specific purpose of projects pertaining to new oil and gas fields and related infrastructure when the primary use is in conjunction with new fields,’ said HSBC in an update on its energy policy.
‘Given the parallel urgency of today’s global energy crisis, we plan to accelerate our activities in renewable energy and clean infrastructure, aligned with our previously announced ambition to provide $750 billion to $1 trillion in sustainable finance and investment by 2030.’
Simply put, HSBC will cut direct financing and advisory ties to fossil fuel projects it isn’t already involved with.
Though it will continue to provide these services to clients that received final approval before the end of 2021 to help them overhaul their businesses and drive development of cleaner energy sources like biomass, hydrogen, nuclear, and thermal coal.
‘It’s not no new fossil fuel investment as of tomorrow. The existing fossil fuel energy system needs to exist hand-in-hand with the growing clean energy system,’ Celine Herweijer, HSBC’s Chief Sustainability Officer, told Reuters.