We want to be sure that the way we do business takes into account any adverse impacts on local communities and the environment. So we’ve identified key sectors where such impacts are likely to arise, and created sector policies to guide the way we operate in these sectors.

We have developed policies which are based on international standards of good practice and developed in consultation with customers, industry associations, shareholders and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

We follow these policies when we lend or provide financial services to projects or customers in these key sectors and we review them regularly so they remain up-to-date and relevant. The policies are available at the bottom of this page.

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.

We engage with customers, where appropriate, and support them in moving towards good practice, which we believe is one of the major ways we can contribute to sustainable development. However, we close banking relationships with customers when they are unwilling or unable to comply with our standards.

Forestry policy

HSBC has had a forestry policy since 2004 and we review and update our policies regularly. HSBC commissioned two independent reviews on its Forestry Policy in 2013.

The first review was by ProForest into how our policy standards compared to good practice and whether they could be improved. We published the review on our website in March 2014, together with new Forestry and Agricultural Commodities Policies reflecting the recommendations.

The second review was by PwC into whether the Forestry Policy had been implemented well and whether we could improve implementation. The review found some inconsistent application of the Policy as well as examples of good practice.

HSBC has – through the new Forestry and Agricultural Commodities Policies – implemented many of PwC’s recommendations. We will make further changes in 2014 and 2015. Read our full response to the review and find our revised policies below.

Sector policies

Related documents

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