Asia-focused bank HSBC announced Friday that it aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across its investments by 2050, but campaigners accused it of falling short on tackling climate change.

“HSBC has both the scale and global reach to play a leading role in guiding its customers through this transition and helping them to achieve this ambitious goal,” the lender said in a statement.

Its target is to “align its financed emissions — the carbon emissions of its portfolio of customers — to 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.”

Europe’s biggest bank added that it has earmarked between $750 billion and $1.0 trillion of finance and investment to assist the transition.

CEO Noel Quinn called the 2020s a “pivotal decade of change” towards “a healthier, more resilient and more sustainable future”.

The 2015 Paris agreement saw nations commit to limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

London-listed HSBC meanwhile follows in the footsteps of rival Barclays, which committed in March to zero-carbon by 2050 under pressure from its shareholders to help tackle climate change.

Campaigners complain that HSBC continues to fund fossil fuel projects including coal power Campaigners complain that HSBC continues to fund fossil fuel projects including coal power Photo: AFP / GREG BAKER

Environmental campaign groups however gave a sceptical response to HSBC’s announcement on Friday, arguing that the bank should cease support for coal, gas and oil activities.

“HSBC’s net-zero commitment is a bit like saying you’ll give up smoking by 2050, but continuing to buy a pack a week, or even smoking more,” said Becky Jarvis, coordinator of campaign group network Fund Our Future UK.

“Any further financing of oil, gas, and coal expansion today is utterly at odds with a net-zero commitment by 2050.

(Bloomberg) — HSBC Holdings Plc will aim to reach a net-zero carbon client portfolio by 2050 in a step to align its business activities to the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

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The London-based bank, which has previously come under fire for financing harmful environmental activity, also pledged to provide as much as $1 trillion over the next decade to assist customers in reducing their carbon emissions. It’s also committed to achieving net-zero emissions in its own 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,” HSBC Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn said in a statement. “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.”

HSBC follows JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s announcement on Tuesday that the U.S. bank is setting climate targets for its financing portfolio and planning a net-zero carbon footprint for its own operations.  Morgan Stanley said in September that it plans to eliminate net emissions from its financing activities by 2050.

HSBC also plans to work towards a “globally consistent, future-proofed” standards for measuring financed emissions and the carbon offset market. Other measures announced by the bank include regular disclosures on its progress and an assurance it will encourage its clients to do the same.  Earlier this year, HSBC launched a $1 billion asset management arm with Pollination Group, a climate change advisory company, to support investment in natural assets such as water, soil and air.

HSBC has come under sustained pressure from environmental groups after providing loans worth billions of pounds for companies involved in deforestation. It ranks as Europe’s second-largest financier of fossil-fuel

By Lawrence White, Sinead Cruise and Simon Jessop



logo: FILE PHOTO: HSBC logo is seen on a branch bank in the financial district in New York, U.S.


© Reuters/BRENDAN MCDERMID
FILE PHOTO: HSBC logo is seen on a branch bank in the financial district in New York, U.S.


LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC will target net zero carbon emissions across its entire customer base by 2050 at the latest, and provide between $750 billion and $1 trillion in financing to help clients make the transition, its Chief Executive Noel Quinn told Reuters.

In the strongest statement by Europe’s biggest bank on climate change to date, its CEO outlined HSBC’s ambitions to align its activities with the Paris Agreement.

“COVID has been a wake-up call to us all, including me personally, we have seen how fragile the global economy is to a major event, in this case a health event, and it brings home the reality of what a major climate event could do,” Quinn told Reuters in a video interview.

HSBC aims to achieve net zero in its own operations by 2030, he added.

While other UK banks such as NatWest have already set similar net-zero goals, HSBC’s aim to achieve it across its huge Asia-focused client base is one of the most significant pledges made by a global lender to date.

However, the bank will be closely watched for how quickly and fully it pursues its new goals, which are mainly stated as ‘aims’ rather than hard commitments.

It will also face scrutiny on whether it has allowed itself leeway to continue financing some fossil fuel-linked clients, especially in developing markets.

HSBC has come under increasing pressure from activists, shareholders and politicians who say it is contributing to climate change by financing fossil fuel and other environmentally harmful projects.

Quinn said the bank is focused on expanding its capital markets-focused carbon transition policies, to a broader one encompassing all

(Bloomberg) — HSBC Holdings Plc rose the most since 2009, recovering from a 25-year low, as its biggest shareholder raised its stake in a bet the embattled lender will return to paying dividends.

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China’s Ping An Insurance Group Co., which last week bought 10.8 million shares to boost its stake to 8%, remains confident in HSBC’s long-term prospects, a spokesperson said. The recent slump in the share and the valuation only increases HSBC’s appeal, the spokesperson said.

“Ping An believes HSBC’s suspension of dividend payments is a short-term issue and has been actively communicating with the lender about the possibility of restoring dividends in the future,” the spokesperson said.

HSBC shares in Hong Kong on Monday rose 9.2%, the biggest gain since April 2009, clawing back most of last week’s tumble and adding $6.8 billion to its market capitalization. In London, HSBC rose as much as 11.5% — also the most since April 2009. They were up 9% as of 10:55 a.m. local time, although they’re still down by almost half this year.

The bank last week plunged to a 25-year low in part on speculation its massive push into China could be thwarted. The ruling Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper reported that the bank could be put on an “unreliable entity” list that aims to punish firms or individuals that damage national security. HSBC has rankled China over its participation in the U.S. investigation of Huawei Technologies Co.

At the behest of U.K. regulators, the bank suspended its dividend payments earlier this year, alienating its Hong Kong retail investor base. The lender’s shares have trailed the Hang Seng Index in five out of the past six years once dividends are excluded. HSBC has pledged to review the payout once the impact of the pandemic becomes clearer.



chart: Stock rallies after hitting a 25-year low


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