Sustainability at HSBC

How we do business is as important as what we do. For us, sustainability means building our business for the long term by making decisions that balance social, environmental and economic considerations.


1.6 million

people have gained access to fresh water since 2012 thanks to the HSBC Water Programme

USD137 million

donated to charitable programmes in 2016

255,000 hours

spent by employees who volunteered during the working day

USD150 million

pledged to charities around the world to mark HSBC's 150 years in business


of the electricity we use will be renewable by 2020

Number 1

for Climate Change Research in 2017, according to Extel

Executive view

Stuart Gulliver, HSBC Group Chief Executive

“HSBC stands ready to play its full part, and to work with all of our peers and partners to build the climate-friendly future to which we all aspire"

Stuart Gulliver, HSBC Group Chief Executive

Over the last few years there has been a positive shift in the tone of the debate around low-carbon investment, a great deal of which has been driven by the demands of the investment community.

It is our responsibility to act on those demands and help investors and businesses to plan their own transition to carbon neutrality and to make informed investment decisions.


We donate money and our employees volunteer their time to support a range of community projects around the world. Our charitable programmes focus on children and education, the environment and wildlife, and medical welfare and research. They include:

  • The HSBC Education Programme focuses on helping young people achieve their potential – supporting disadvantaged children and providing financial education and scholarships
  • The HSBC Water Programme, which helps to protect and provide fresh water and sanitation facilities
  • The 150 community fund, which was set up to mark our 150th anniversary and will see HSBC donating USD150 million to local community projects

Below are just three of the many projects these programmes support:


As part of the HSBC Water Programme, we help to protect and provide freshwater and sanitation and raise awareness of water challenges globally. In China we are working with WWF, the global conservation organisation, to restore and safeguard the lakes and habitats surrounding the Yangtze River.
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We are donating USD25 million to Cancer Research UK to support the development of the Francis Crick Institute, a new state-of-the-art biomedical research facility in London. Part of our donation is from our USD150 million community fund, which was launched in 2015 to mark our 150 years in business.
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HSBC provided a USD2 million grant to Junior Achievement to develop a new curriculum that will help young people in the US gain the skills to succeed in an increasingly global workforce. The new course will be taught in classrooms across the US, potentially reaching up to 150,000 students in the next few years. 
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Our approach to sustainable financing

Tackling climate change is a critical challenge for society, and we think financial services have a vital role to play. That’s why we are working with customers, suppliers and governments to support the move to a low-carbon economy.

  • We help business customers to understand sustainability risks and make improvements to their sustainability practices
  • We facilitate investment in areas including infrastructure and renewable energy that help to lower carbon dioxide emissions
  • We have developed clear policies to set out our standards on a range of environmental and social issues relating to sectors such as forestry and agricultural commodities
Financing the green economy

Reducing global carbon emissions will require trillions of dollars – and HSBC is committed to playing its part.

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Insight and analysis

HSBC’s award-winning Climate Change Centre of Excellence research team offers expert analysis on the implications of climate change.

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Two yellow buses on a busy tree-lined highway in Jakarta, Indonesia
Sustainable cities, smart cities

Cities have a vital part to play in fighting climate change and building a low-carbon future, say Graham Smith and Rongrong Huo, HSBC.

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Climate business

As we support the transition to a low-carbon economy, various opportunities are emerging. These include:

  • Supporting low-carbon energy production
  • Improving energy efficiency in buildings and transport
  • Adapting to the impact of climate change on agriculture, infrastructure, water and waste

We are playing an active part in the development of the green bond market. In 2015, we pledged to invest USD1 billion in a portfolio of green, social or sustainable bonds and issued a green bond for the first time through HSBC France.


Managing our own environmental footprint supports business efficiency and is part of our long-term contribution to society.

A freshwater lake with a blue and purple sky behind it, taken by HSBC employee Roshen Mather
Reporting on our impact

HSBC has published an Environmental, Social and Governance Update outlining how it meets its legal, social and environmental obligations.

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A row of three coloured recycling bins in an office
HSBC tightens environmental targets

We are setting ourselves more challenging goals to cut carbon dioxide emissions and boost our use of renewable electricity.

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Turbines at the windfarm in San Luis Potosi, Mexico
A wave of green power in Mexico

HSBC is boosting its use of renewable energy by buying power from a new windfarm in Mexico.

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Simpler, better, faster

Andy Maguire, Group Chief Operating Officer, HSBC

"Operating sustainably makes good business sense. Alongside the environmental benefits, there’s a strong business case for each of our 2020 goals"

Andy Maguire, Group Chief Operating Officer, HSBC

Our goals for operating sustainably are closely aligned with our broader strategy. Being sustainable means doing business more effectively – simpler, better and faster.

You don't have to choose between going green and making savings. Seen as a whole, the changes we are making to manage our impact on the environment can contribute to cost savings over the long term.