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The goals cover energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, decarbonising our electricity consumption by purchasing renewable energy, making buildings and data centres more environmentally friendly, reducing water and sustainably sourcing all paper.

The goals and targets were originally set in 2012. We updated our goals and made them more ambitious in 2017, however, as we had already met several of them or were on track to achieve them before the 2020 target date.

We work with our employees, collaborate with suppliers and their supply chains, and run an eco-fund to trial innovative approaches to help achieve our targets.

HSBC continues to improve its environmental performance. In 2017, our operational sustainability efforts resulted in us scoring an A- (a leadership score) with CDP (previously known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), a not-for-profit organisation that rates companies and governments on how they are tackling the climate change challenge.

Carbon emissions

We aim to cut our annual carbon emissions per employee from 3.5 tonnes in 2011 to 2.0 tonnes by 2020. This target was updated in 2017 from an original goal of 2.5 tonnes.

Our energy use reduced by 9 per cent in 2017 and this, along with renewable energy purchases, reduced our 2017 annual carbon emissions per employee to 2.49 tonnes.

Targeting 100 per cent renewables

In 2017 HSBC signed up to RE100, a group of businesses committed to sourcing 100 per cent of their electricity from renewables by 2030. Our intention is to achieve this through power purchase agreements, rather than using green tariffs or offsetting. Read Andy Maguire, Group Chief Operating Officer, HSBC, discussing why and how HSBC targets 100 per cent renewables.

By the end of 2017, we had signed agreements to purchase 27 per cent of our global electricity from renewable sources. We have already started to receive power from a new solar farm in India and a large wind farm in Mexico.


We aim to reduce waste by 75 per cent by 2020 compared with our 2011 benchmark, up from an original target of 50 per cent. We also aim to cut paper use by 66 per cent, up from a target of 50 per cent. By the end of 2017, certified sustainably sourced paper accounted for 93 per cent of all paper used by HSBC. Read our Paper Sourcing Policy.

Supply chains

We continued to ensure adherence to our updated Ethical and Environmental Code of Conduct for Suppliers and partnered with a specialist consultancy to undertake risk assessments of all large new suppliers and any suppliers who had contracts renewed. We constantly review our supplier relationships and require them, through adherence to our Code of Conduct and ongoing dialogue, to support our 10 operational sustainability goals and to ensure modern slavery and human rights violations are not present within our extended supply chan.


We have trained over 1,500 senior managers, clients and suppliers through HSBC’s Sustainability Leadership Programme since 2009. Participants are expected to embed sustainability into decision-making and project delivery in the businesses and functions where they work.

In addition to reducing our impact on the environment, our operational sustainability strategy allows us to engage our customers and clients in supporting and financing their transition to a low-carbon, sustainable way of doing business.

Full details of our environmental impact and community investment data can be found in our Key Facts 2017 document.

Related content

Measuring our impact

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