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Environmental efficiency

The bank's activities impact the environment directly through the operations of our buildings, IT systems and business travel – and indirectly through our customers' business. So across our offices, branches and data centres we work hard to reduce our energy consumption, waste and CO2 emissions.

Sustainability is built on providing services in an environmentally friendly way. We constantly innovate with our suppliers and employees to create better products so we can work as efficiently as possible.

We have offices that showcase the latest green building technologies and demonstrate our commitment to achieving the highest benchmark in buildings environmental performance.

Our 2020 vision

We have a 10-point plan to make HSBC a world leader in environmental efficiency by reducing carbon emissions, developing new processes and technologies, and changing the way we work. Our goal is to reduce annual employee carbon emissions from 3.5 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes by 2020.

Here's how we plan to do it:

Sustainability engagement: We aim to inspire everyone at HSBC to deliver improved environmental efficiency. Sustainability will be a core part of learning and development for key senior managers.

Supply chain collaboration: Driving innovation and technology in association with our suppliers will help them develop new sustainable products and services that help HSBC become more efficient in our energy use.

HSBC Eco Efficiency Fund: We will invest USD5 million a year in sustainable, customer-facing innovation.

Energy efficiency: We plan to reduce annual energy consumption per employee by 1MWh.

Waste reduction: We will recycle 100 per cent of our office and electronic waste. By 2020, we also aim to reduce the waste we generate by one-fifth.

Low-carbon energy programmes: We will increase self-generated electricity from zero to five per cent and energy consumption from renewables from 24 per cent to 40 per cent.

Green Building Programme: We will achieve gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or equivalent for our top 50 energy-consuming buildings. This means 40 per cent of HSBC’s energy consumption will be in LEED-accredited buildings.

Group data centre energy efficiency: Improving the efficiency of servers in our data centres will cut power-usage effectiveness ratings from 2 to 1.5.

Paperless banking: All of our customers will be given access to internet banking, e-statements and digital account notifications. Internally, we will print less.

Sustainable travel: Technologies such as video-conferencing and webinars mean we will travel more efficiently by 2020.

To reinforce the link between sustainable decisions, efficiency and cost savings, we have run a company-wide Climate Champion programme with our environmental partner, Earthwatch. More than 2,800 employees have been trained to act as ambassadors for climate change. In 2013, we trained an additional 255 senior managers as part of our Sustainability Leadership Programme, bringing the total number of alumni to 627.

Case studies

Putting down green roots

HSBC is using environmental design principles to create innovative, energy-efficient and sustainable places to work.

Digging deep

The Sachetana Drinking Water Project is helping 1,000 families in southern India to build rainwater tanks so they don't have to drink from polluted wells.