A row of three coloured recycling bins in an office

By 2020 HSBC aims to cut office waste by 75 per cent compared to 2011

HSBC is setting more challenging environmental targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions, boost the proportion of its electricity that comes from renewables, and use resources more efficiently.

The bank first set out a strategy to reduce the environmental impact of its operations in 2012, along with a series of targets for the year 2020. The new goals show the progress the bank has made since then – and its ambition to go further. Among the updated targets for 2020, HSBC aims to:

  • Cut annual carbon emissions per full-time employee to 2.0 tonnes from the baseline of 3.5 tonnes established in 2011

  • Source 40 per cent of electricity from renewables, up from the previous target of 25 per cent

  • Reduce waste from offices by 75 per cent compared with 2011, up from 50 per cent

  • Reduce paper use by 66 per cent compared with 2011, up from 50 per cent

In addition, HSBC is introducing a new target to reduce water consumption by 50 per cent compared with 2011. This supports the work of the HSBC Water Programme, an eight-year partnership between the bank and three leading non-governmental organisations that aims to protect freshwater sources and provide access to safe water and sanitation.

The updated targets are explained in HSBC’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Update, a new report that the bank is publishing today.

In some areas HSBC is very close to, or has already reached, its initial targets for 2020. Agreements are already in place, or signed, to source 23 per cent of electricity from renewables, for example, while total office waste is down 57 per cent compared with 2011 levels.

Innovation inspired by employees

HSBC encourages employees to suggest ideas that could help reduce the bank’s environmental footprint. An eco-efficiency fund provides grants for pilot projects of the most promising ideas. Local schemes supported over recent years include:

  • Fitting photovoltaic panels

  • Introducing a range of measures to improve the energy efficiency of IT data centres

  • Switching the HSBC cars in Malta to electric vehicles

  • Installing flow control devices on taps to stop water waste

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