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Greenwashing concerns prompt HSBC shareholder resolution

UK bank urged to set timeline for fossil-fuel financing phase-out.


Investors and activists frustrated by HSBC’s failure to address concerns around fossil-fuel financing have joined forces to pressure the bank’s management to take action.

Fifteen European asset managers and owners, including Amundi and Man Group, have filed a shareholder climate resolution calling on HSBC to publish a strategy and targets to reduce its exposure to fossil-fuel assets.

The move, which has been coordinated by responsible investing NGO ShareAction, comes just three months after HSBC pledged to reduce financed emissions from its customer portfolio to net zero by 2050 or sooner.

Investors have been engaging with [HSBC] on coal for quite a while
Jeanne Martin, ShareAction
Jeanne Martin ShareAction-596.PNG

Chief executive Noel Quinn said at the time that the bank would look to provide up to $1 trillion of finance and investment by 2030 to support customers’ energy transition. Other aims included to “apply a climate lens to our financing decisions” and “increase our portfolio of transition finance solutions”.

However, the announcement was criticized for failing to give a timeline for phasing out HSBC’s financing to the fossil-fuel industry.

“We were disappointed with HSBC’s net-zero announcement,” says Colin Baines, investment engagement manager at Friends Provident Foundation (FPF).

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