Jingjing Chen

Sustainable Finance Associate, Global Sustainability

London, UK

Joined in 2018

Growing up, I never imagined I’d have a career in banking. I’d assumed it would be boring and every day would be the same. But my mum encouraged me to apply for HSBC. She always has good ideas, so I took her advice – and I’m glad I did. It’s been really interesting so far.

Ready to learn

After completing my undergraduate degree in China, I finished a Master’s in management at Cambridge University and then joined HSBC’s Commercial Banking graduate programme in the UK. It involved three rotations in different parts of the bank, which meant I was always meeting new people and learning new things.

Now I’m in a permanent role, as an associate in the sustainable finance team. I work alongside relationship managers to explain how different financing tools can help their clients achieve their sustainability goals, and how finance can play a role in meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement’s commitment to limit global temperature increases to two degrees.

I have a particular focus on supply chains, which are often a company’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and have done presentations for very senior people at big fashion and retail companies. It’s exciting to have these opportunities and a lot of responsibility so early on in my career.

Communication skills are crucial for this role. I have to talk to sustainability professionals about finance, which may be an unfamiliar topic for them. And I have to present sustainability ideas to the finance guys, some of whom may not know about the Paris Agreement. Sustainable finance is a relatively new concept, so you have to speak in a language that the audience understands. It helps that I studied journalism for my undergraduate degree, as that taught me how to tell a story.

I get to travel quite a bit in this job. I’ve been to the Netherlands for client meetings, and to France for conferences. I visit Cambridge often, too. HSBC is involved in a partnership with the university, where sustainable finance employees from different banks work together to share ideas and find solutions to shared problems. I love going back to my old university town – it’s such a friendly city and I still have friends there.

I’ve always enjoyed getting to know new places. I’m originally from Hainan in China, and my first university was in Beijing. But I spent time in Canada and Denmark before moving to Cambridge, so I’m good at adapting to different cultures. In the long term I see myself moving back to Asia, but for now I’m really enjoying life in the UK.

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