HSBC targets 100 per cent renewables

HSBC is aiming to source 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, with an interim goal of 90 per cent by 2025. Andy Maguire, Group Chief Operating Officer, HSBC, explains the bank’s approach and its progress so far.

Why is HSBC aiming to go 100 per cent renewable?

Each and every one of us has a stake in developing a sustainable economy. With offices in countries and territories all over the world, HSBC can play a key part in supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, via our own operations and by supporting clients in their transition strategies. We believe it is important to lead by example.

How did you decide on your 100 per cent goal?

In 2011, we set a target to reach 25 per cent renewable electricity by 2020, which we then increased to 40 per cent in January 2017. The experience we have gained in the renewable electricity market means we can now make a commitment to source 100 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. This is an ambitious goal, but it will be easier to achieve if we collaborate through initiatives like RE100 (see box) and its growing membership.

What have been your achievements so far?

Since 2014, HSBC has been procuring its electricity through renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs), which encourage and support suppliers to build new renewable power facilities. Currently, we have signed PPAs to cover 27 per cent of our global consumption, focusing on areas where our consumption is highest. We are building a diversified, global portfolio of various types and sizes of renewables projects.

What is a power purchase agreement?

A PPA is a long-term contract where a buyer agrees to purchase energy from a developer at a fixed price over a specified period of time. This assures the developer of future income, giving them the confidence to raise finance and build new infrastructure such as wind turbines and solar panels.

What plans do you have to switch to renewable electricity in future?

Our focus continues to be on PPAs because we think it is important to support the development of new renewable power facilities. We have made it our policy to not use offsets or other instruments that do not represent a direct investment or purchase of renewable electricity.

About RE100

The RE100 initiative brings together more than 100 businesses committed to using 100 per cent green energy. It provides a forum to work together, challenge and inspire each other, and learn from each other’s experiences. RE100 is supported by The Climate Group, a non-governmental organisation which aims to accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon economy.

You can read the original version of this interview on The Climate Group website (opens in new window) (opens in new window)

What challenges and opportunities are you experiencing?

The renewable markets in the regions we have concentrated on have different levels of maturity. This brings both challenges and opportunities. What works in one country cannot always be applied to another.

It will be a particular challenge to reach our 100 per cent renewable target in markets where PPAs or similar mechanisms are not yet available. But these are challenges that our clients face as well. By building on our experience, and working together with our clients, we can all drive the development of renewable energy markets and support the decarbonisation of our electricity supply.

Why is RE100 an important initiative to join?

Joining RE100 is an opportunity to actively collaborate with various players in the market.

We plan on working closely with RE100, other corporates, governments and regulators to open up renewable energy markets and support the decentralisation of power generation across our operational centres. This will enable HSBC and other corporates to develop PPAs globally and support the transition to a low carbon-economy.

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We publish regularly updated information on our performance in relation to environmental, social and governance issues.

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We have committed to provide USD100 billion of sustainable financing investment by 2025.

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