Sustainability risk

HSBC seeks to ensure that the financial services we provide to our customers to support economic development do not result in an unacceptable impact on people or the environment.

For more than 15 years, we have been working with our business customers to help them understand and manage their environmental and social impact. HSBC has specific sustainability risk policies covering agricultural commodities, chemicals, defence, energy, forestry, mining and metals, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Ramsar-designated wetlands. We also apply the Equator Principles when financing projects. In December 2021, we introduced the HSBC Thermal Coal Phase Out Policy.

We engage with customers, where appropriate, and support them in adopting more sustainable practices. We end banking relationships with customers when they are unwilling or unable to comply with our standards. More information about our approach is available in The Introduction to Sustainability Risk Policies (PDF 66KB).

You can also find further information on our policies in areas such as the environment, climate change, human rights, and modern slavery on the ESG reporting centre page.

We have reputational and sustainability risk specialists who are responsible for reviewing, implementing and managing our sustainability risk policies as well as our application of the Equator Principles. Our global network of more than 75 sustainability risk managers supports the implementation of these policies.

In 2020, these local sustainability risk managers will now be further supported by regional reputational risk managers across the Group who have taken on additional oversight responsibilities for sustainability risk.

We have also established a Sustainability Risk Oversight Forum, made up of senior members of the Global Risk function and global businesses across the Group.

We regularly review our policies to ensure that they address new and emerging risks as well as stakeholder concerns. The HSBC Thermal Coal Phase Out Policy was introduced in December 2021 to phase out the financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2030 in EU and OECD markets, and worldwide by 2040. This builds on previous HSBC policy that already prohibited finance for new coal-fired power plants and new thermal coal mines. This new policy is available in the list of policies on this page.

We continue to engage with customers and stakeholders so we can improve our policies and the way they are implemented. We believe that independent certification schemes can play an important role in banks’ and companies’ management of sustainability risk in global supply chains, and we continue to support the development of selected schemes, for example in the forestry and agricultural commodities sectors.

Forestry and agricultural commodities

Find out about developments to our forestry and agricultural commodities policies and their implementation.

Equator Principles

Find out more about our application of the Equator Principles.

ESG reporting centre

Access our ESG reports, policies and statements, and find details of our sustainability memberships.

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