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Beyond industrywide standards such as the Equator Principles, of which HSBC is a founding signatory, we have developed a series of risk policies for sensitive sectors, including chemicals, defence equipment, energy, mining and metals, freshwater infrastructure, and forest land and forest products. We also monitor our customers' compliance levels and the scale of potential impacts, helping clients move towards good working practices.

The policies apply to all lending and other forms of financial assistance, primary debt and equity markets activities, project finance and advisory work.

To make sure our sector policies are implemented, we've invested in a network of sustainability risk managers in every region in the world. These individuals train the wider risk management team in sector-specific sustainability risks. In this way, we can support our customers as they work to improve the social and environmental impacts of their businesses.

We invite PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to review our application of the Equator Principles – one of a small number of banks to commission independent assurance of what we do. PwC’s independent Assurance Statement on selected corporate sustainability information is on page 35 of the HSBC Sustainability Report 2012.

The Equator Principles are voluntary guidelines that help financial institutions assess and monitor environmental and social impacts when funding large projects.

Sector Policies
We base our sector policies on international standards of good practice and consult with clients, industry associations, shareholders and non-governmental organisations.