HSBC passes a landmark climate change policy


HSBC passes a landmark climate change policy after facing years of criticism for its financing of coal power

HSBC has passed a landmark climate change policy after facing years of criticism for its financing of coal power. 

Under pressure from investors, the London-based lender set out a resolution for its annual general meeting in which it promised to phase out the financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2040. 

It will also align its provision of finance to the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming.

A sign of the times: HSBC promised to phase out the financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2040

A sign of the times: HSBC promised to phase out the financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2040

In a landslide vote at the annual general meeting (AGM) in London, 99.7 per cent of shareholders who took part in the ballot waved the resolution through. HSBC’s green shift comes ahead of the latest UN climate change conference, known as Cop 26, which the UK is due to host this year. But some investors were still disgruntled with the bank’s plans, claiming they didn’t go far enough. 

Adam McGibbon at Market Forces, a climate change campaign group, said: ‘HSBC’s management, having spent the AGM dodging climate questions from shareholders, have said or done nothing that will steer the bank away from being one of the world’s biggest funders of the fossil fuel industry. HSBC’s current policies will allow them to continue to pollute with impunity.’ 

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Chief executive Noel Quinn said: ‘I passionately believe that we have a responsibility, as a leader, to drive comprehensive change if we can.’



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