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HSBC shareholders call for transparency on green finance

(Friday 3rd May) A coalition of shareholders in HSBC will today ask the bank to explicitly set out how they intend to use the money they have dedicated to sustainable finance and demand they set a funding target for renewable energy, critical for the net zero transition.

A statement will be read at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the bank on behalf of the coalition by responsible investment NGO ShareAction.

The investor group, worth USD 892 billion in assets under management, includes the Ethos Foundation, Epworth Investment Management, Royal London Asset Management, Axiom Alternative Investments, La Francaise Asset Management, Jesuits in Britain and Folksam pension fund.

Jeanne Martin, Head of Banking Programme at ShareAction said: “HSBC has set a target of spending up to $1 trillion on sustainable finance by 2030, but investors don’t have enough information about how exactly this will be spent to know if the bank is really on the path to net zero and contributing its fair share of financing to address climate finance gaps.

“The target as it currently stands is too broad and vague. It gives the impression the bank is scaling up its efforts on green finance without demonstrating the difference it will make, or whether it is financing the green activities that are most needed.

This is why we are calling on the bank to make it clear how its green finance target will be spent across environmental and social themes, with a specific target for renewable energy that demonstrates how it is shifting its financing to support the energy transition.”

In November, ShareAction published an analysis of green finance and reporting from Europe’s largest banks including HSBC and found that a lack of transparency around sustainable finance claims left banks open to greenwashing accusations.

Notes to editors

The 16 signatories to the statement include: Akademiker Pension, Axiom Alternative Investments, Epworth Investment Management, Ethos Engagement Pool International, Ethos Foundation, EQ Investors, Folksam, Jesuits in Britain, La Francaise Asset Management, P1 Investment Services Ltd, and Royal London Asset Management.

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