We consider issues such as climate change and the impact on local communities that can arise from our financing decisions. This allows us to respond to commercial opportunities while at the same time better manage potential risks to our business. We also help our business customers to understand sustainability risks and make improvements to their sustainability practices.
We recognise and support the move to a low-carbon economy, which will help reduce climate change and benefit communities in the long term. HSBC can play a role by financing climate business – the goods and services that will thrive in and accelerate this transition to a low-carbon future. Find out more about how we support Climate Business.
Sustainability risk policies
For more than 10 years, we have been working with our business customers to help them understand and manage their environmental and social impact with a focus on certain sectors and themes. We assess and support customers using our own policies which we regularly review and refine.
In 2014, we issued new policies on forestry, agricultural commodities and World Heritage Sites and Ramsar Wetlands. We also have policies covering chemicals, defence, energy, freshwater infrastructure, and mining and metals, and we apply the Equator Principles when financing projects.
We engage with customers, where appropriate, and support them in adopting more sustainable practices. We end banking relationships with customers when they are unwilling or unable to comply with our standards.
To make sure our sector policies are implemented, we have invested in a network of sustainability risk managers in every region of the world. In 2014, we trained more than 3,000 colleagues on our sustainability risk framework and policy updates. Between 2011 and the end of 2014, almost 8,000 colleagues completed online training in sustainability risk. The Introduction to Sustainability Risk Policies, left, provides further details of our approach.
Our World Heritage Sites and Ramsar Wetlands policy is designed to protect unique sites of outstanding international significance, as listed by the UN, and wetlands of international importance. Before 2014, some of our risk policies, such as the mining and metals sector policy, included requirements regarding the protection of unique sites. The stand-alone policy now covers possible adverse impacts on these sensitive sites by any sector and relates to all business customers involved in major projects. It helps us to make balanced and clear financing decisions and to avoid financing high-risk projects.
Forestry and agricultural commodities
Find out about developments to our forestry and agricultural commodities policies and their implementation in 2014.
Find out more about our application of the Equator Principles in 2014.