HSBC Commits $100 Billion to Combat Climate Change

November 6, 2017, 9:59 AM UTC
FILE PHOTO: The HSBC headquarters building is seen in the Canary Wharf financial district in London
FILE PHOTO: The HSBC headquarters building is seen in the Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain, March 7, 2011. To match Special Report BRITAIN-EU/BANKS REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo - RTX327AS
Toby Melville—Reuters

HSBC Monday unveiled a raft of new commitments to fight climate change and cut the climate-related risks in its own business model.

The U.K.-based bank, whose operations are increasingly concentrated in Asia, said it will make up to $100 billion available for financing low-carbon projects, while stopping the financing of mines that produce coal for power generation. It also promised to get all of its power from renewable sources by 2030.

It’s the latest attempt by the world’s biggest banks to respond both to the phenomenon itself and to investors’ concerns about the associated risks. JPMorgan Chase made a similar commitment in July, promising $200 billion of finance for clean energy projects.


Read: U.S. Companies Are Leading the Way in Setting Climate Change Policies Despite Trump

HSBC also said it will adopt the recommendations made by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, which was set up by Michael Bloomberg and Bank of Englan Governor Mark Carney. Daniel Klier, HSBC’s head of strategy, told the FT that HSBC would “disclose [its] carbon footprint and stress test [its] lending book against carbon pricing.”

Nevertheless, HSBC hasn’t gone as far as some other banks who have adopted a worldwide ban on coal. It will continue to finance new coal-fired power stations in developing countries (which is where all the demand is). Since virtually no developed country is building coal-fired plants any more, the promise not to finance such projects is no great sacrifice. According to the NGO EndCoal, the U.S. and EU together have brought next to no new coal-fired capacity came online since 2015, And the EU, North America and Australasia account for only 2% of all the coal-fired plants currently being planned.

HSBC didn’t immediately respond to a Fortune question asking how much it has in loans outstanding to existing and planned coal-fired stations and coal mines.

Read: The World’s Largest Chocolate Maker Is Committing $1 Billion to Fight Climate Change

A third tenet of Monday’s announcement was a pledge to source all HSBC electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The FT reports that the bank currently gets only 24 percent of its electricity from renewable sources today, and would increase this number by directly investing in green power projects or through power purchase agreements.



Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

CryptocurrencyInvestingBanksReal Estate