Becoming a net zero bank

We are committed to reducing our footprint through our operations, supply chain and financing portfolio.

Being net zero means reducing the emissions we add to the atmosphere while increasing the amount we remove, so we achieve a balance that protects the planet, while creating a thriving, resilient global economy.

We can effect change in our own operations and supply chain, as well as in our financing, by working with our portfolio of customers to help them progressively decarbonise.

Our aim is to:

  • Achieve net zero in our own operations and supply chain by 2030 or sooner
  • Use the Paris Agreement Capital Transition Assessment (PACTA) tool to develop clear and measurable ways to achieve net zero
  • Work with our peers, central banks and industry bodies to mobilise the financial system around a globally consistent standard for measuring financed emissions, and develop a functioning carbon-offset market
  • Make regular and transparent disclosures to communicate our progress in line with guidelines set out by the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures guidelines, the financial industry body that sets the standards for environmental disclosures. We’ll encourage our customers to do the same
A field of sunflowers

ESG reporting and policies

Find our ESG publications and further detail on our policies and non-financial performance.

Supporting customers to thrive through transition

At the heart of our climate plan is a goal to align financed emissions from our portfolio of customers to the Paris Agreement goal of net zero by 2050 or sooner.

Intensifying our support for customers in their transition to lower carbon emissions is key to achieving this goal. Our ambition is to provide between USD750 billion and USD1 trillion in sustainable financing and investment by 2030 to support them as they switch to more sustainable ways of doing business. We will also provide expert, tailored advice through our dedicated ESG Solutions team.

Find out more about our commitment to providing sustainable finance

We believe collaboration is the best way to protect the planet. We work with investors, governments, non-governmental organisations, other financial institutions and our suppliers to support long-term investment in environmentally sustainable projects.

As we work to achieve net zero, we will build coalitions of public and private bodies to mobilise the financial system to develop globally consistent, future-proofed standards for measuring and tracking financed emissions.

Read more about how we engage with other groups

Making our own operations net zero

Our aim to be net zero in our own operations and supply chain builds on our long-term efforts to reduce and manage our environmental impact.

Our 10-goal Reduce programme launched in 2012 enabled us to not only cut carbon but also lessen our wider environmental impact by using less energy, paper and water, and generating less waste.

At the end of 2020, we achieved our carbon emissions, paper, energy and water reduction goals, along with efficiency goals for our buildings and data centres. Though we had achieved some of our goals and made good progress in our environmental footprint reductions already, we acknowledge that the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak affected working behaviours which helped drive further environmental reductions in our operations. Click below to find out more.

2020 Goal (set from 2011 baseline) Progress to date (2020) Commentary
CO2 Emissions reduction1 2.0 CO2 tonnes per full-time equivalent employee (FTE) 1.76 CO2 tonnes per FTE We continue to cut our carbon emissions by reducing our energy consumption. We have done this by being more efficient in the way we run our buildings, using IT solutions to reduce the need to travel, working with our strategic partners and expanding our renewable procurement strategy. In 2020, the travel restrictions and energy usage reduction due to the COVID-19 outbreak affected our CO2 figures in a positive way. Currently, working from home energy consumption is not calculated in this figure. Going forward, we will consider this type of energy consumption, depending on long-term behaviour and materiality.
Electricity from renewables2 100% by 20303 37.4%3 We have stretched our initial target of 25 per cent to 100 per cent. We are a member of RE100, a group of businesses committed to sourcing 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources. In 2020, our Power Purchase Agreements generated 29.8 per cent of our global electricity, the remaining came from green tariffs and renewable energy certificates.
Energy reduction1 1.2 MWh/FTE: this is equivalent to a 20% reduction on the 2011 baseline 1.86 MWh per FTE In 2017, we achieved our original energy reduction target and stretched it to 1.2MWh/FTE. In 2019, we achieved our stretched target. During 2020, we implemented full and partial dark buildings due to lockdowns which enabled a reduction in energy consumption.
Waste reduction1 75% of baseline 73% of baseline We achieved our original target to reduce waste by 50 per cent from our 2011 baseline and stretched our goal to 75 per cent. Waste and recycling processes differ greatly across our global estate, making these some of our most challenging goals to achieve. Owing to the COVID-19 outbreak and people working from home, we saw a significant reduction in waste generation in our corporate offices.
Waste recycling 100% 58% We work with our local facilities partners to find the best ways to reduce, segregate and recycle while encouraging our employees to take small actions to support our waste goals. In 2020, we created a waste league table for our largest buildings to prepare for the return of employees and to drive better recycling practices.
Paper reduction1 66% of baseline 73% of baseline In 2019, we achieved our stretched target. In 2020, we reduced our internal printing further due to employees working from home. We continue to develop paper-free processes and solutions aligned to our digital strategy.
Sustainably sourced paper 100% 97% As we continue to reduce our paper consumption, we continue to source responsibly and make progress towards this goal.
Water reduction 50% 56% We focus our water reduction strategy in water-scarce countries and continue to educate our employees and the communities in which we operate about the global water challenge. With reduced occupation in our office buildings, we reduced our water consumption.
Green buildings Build 50 properties to highest environmental standards 79 We reached our initial goal in 2015 and continue to build new properties in line with the highest international sustainability standards. In 2020, one of our Bangalore buildings was certified with a LEED Gold standard.
Data centres efficiency 1.50 Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) 1.496 We reached this goal in 2020 as we continued to implement ways to make our data centres more efficient.

Notes

1. Several goals were achieved since 2011 and stretched as follows: (i) CO2 emissions reduction 2020 target was set at 2.5 CO2 tonnes/FTE until 2017, when the target was stretched to 2.0 CO2 tonnes/FTE; (ii) Waste reduction 2020 target was set at 50% until 2017, when the target was stretched to 75%, and (iii) Paper reduction target was set at 50% until 2017, when the target was stretched to 66%. Carbon emissions include scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 (travel) emissions.

2. Electricity in entire operations – in 2020, we updated our reporting methodology to include procurement of other renewable contracts.

3. 100% is our target for 2030, with an interim goal of 90% by 2025

We are a member of RE100, a global initiative that brings together the world’s most influential businesses committed to using 100 per cent renewable electricity. HSBC has committed to buying 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

We continue to make our operations more efficient by consuming less energy.

We aim to build on our current portfolio of power purchase agreements (PPAs) and also buy more green tariff energy which will enable us to replace emissions from our energy consumption by procuring electricity from renewable sources. Where green-tariff energy and PPAs are not enough to meet our demand, we will buy international renewable energy certificates, which are another way of ensuring the electricity we use comes from sustainable sources.

Progress against our historical targets

We have made progress against a number of environmental goals.

Carbon emissions per employee

Total carbon emissions

Cutting our waste

Reduction and recycling


Our aim is to reduce the amount of air travel by our employees by 50 per cent by the end of 2021. We will also support the development of sustainable aviation fuel options. We will cut the size of our car fleet, and transition to using electric or low carbon-emitting vehicles.

The single biggest step we can take to achieve net zero in how we operate is to work with our suppliers, which is where the majority of our emissions are generated. Our aim is to engage suppliers, representing 60 per cent of spend, to participate in the CDP Supply Chain Programme, encouraging them to disclose their climate change commitments and reduce their emissions.

Our main focus is to achieve net zero in our operations. At the same time, we will continue to build on managing and reducing our environmental footprint and being a responsible corporate consumer.

More in this section

Providing sustainable finance

We aim to support customers with between USD750 billion and USD1 trillion in sustainable financing and investment by 2030.

Climate solutions and innovation

We are pioneering new financing for nature-based climate solutions, and supporting promising and innovative clean technologies.

HSBC news

HSBC joins global Net Zero Banking Alliance

HSBC is working with banks from 23 countries to help accelerate the transition to net zero.

We’re taking action on ESG

A new climate ambition and extra support for customers and colleagues are some of HSBC’s latest environmental, social and governance (ESG) highlights.

HSBC helps UK raise funds to fight climate change

We are advising the UK government on its first ever sovereign green bond.