HSBC Holdings PLC



Financial Services



Computershare Investor Services PLC,
The Pavilions,
Bridgwater Road,
Bristol BS99 6ZZ,
United Kingdom



  • Financial Times’ Diversity Leaders 2020 list
  • Bloomberg’s 2020 Gender Equality Index
  • Universum’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Index 2019
  • CDP




Simon Martin


  • Investment Bank of the Year for Sustainability – 2020 – Banker Awards
  • Best Overall International Bank for BRI – Asiamoney New Silk Road Finance Awards
  • Environmental Finance Awards 2019
  • Euromoney Awards 2019: World’s Best Bank for Sustainable Finance
  • Extel Awards 2019: No.1 in a range of categories including ESG, Socially Responsible Investment and Sustainability 
  • World Resources Institute 2019: Achieved 9 out of 10 (dark green status)



Report created by Katerina Vargova

HSBC Holdings PLC

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world, with operations in 64 countries and territories. They aim to be where the growth is, enabling businesses to thrive and economies to prosper, and, ultimately, helping people to fulfil their hopes and realize their ambitions.

Their customers range from individual savers and investors to some of the world’s biggest companies, governments and international organizations. They aim to connect them to opportunities and help them to achieve their ambitions.

The products and services HSBC offers vary widely according to customers’ needs. They provide individuals and families with mortgages that help them buy their own home, as well as savings accounts and wealth management products that help them plan for the future.

HSBC offers businesses loans to invest in growth and products such as foreign exchange and trade financing that enable them to expand internationally. And for large companies and organizations operating across borders, they offer tailored advice on decisions such as financing major projects, issuing debt or making acquisitions.

HSBC has a strong wealth business with client assets of $1.4 trillion in 2019, supported by a premier international wealth proposition and leading, full-scale banking operations in Hong Kong, the UK and Mexico.

Furthermore, HSBC is a leading trade and payments and cash management bank with $17 billion of transaction banking adjusted revenue (in 2019). This is supported by their international network of 64 markets, which covers approximately 90% of global GDP, trade and capital flows.

Company Sustainability Activity

In their words, HSBC recognizes the potential impact of climate change and has set out an ambition to align its financing portfolio to the Paris Agreement goals. Their aim is to accelerate the transition to a thriving low-carbon global economy through finance.


  • HSBC employed 235,000 people around the world
  • 29.4% of women in senior leadership and 52% of women overall
  • Reduced operational CO2 emissions by 2.26 tonnes used per full-time equivalent employee
  • 35% reduction in carbon emissions per full-time equivalent employee compared with the 2011 baseline
  • HSBC contributed to charitable and community projects around the world $101 million in 2019.


  • Reduce financed emissions from HSBC portfolio of customers to net-zero by 2050 or sooner, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement
  • An ambition to provide between $750 billion and $1 trillion of finance and investment by 2030 to help their customers achieve sustainability goals.
  • Use the Paris Agreement Capital Transition Assessment Tool (PACTA) to develop clear, measurable pathways to net-zero emissions
  • Make regular, transparent disclosures to communicate HSBC’s progress in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures guidelines, and encourage their customers to do the same
  • Work with peers, central banks and industry bodies to mobilise the financial system around a globally consistent, future-proofed standard to measure financed emissions and a functioning carbon offset market
  • Achieve net-zero emissions in their operations and supply chain by 2030 or sooner
  • HSBC pledged to provide $100bn to sustainable financing and investment by 2025
  • Achieve 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030 with an interim commitment of 90% by 2025
  • Reduce carbon emissions to 2.0 tonnes per full-time equivalent employee by the end of 2020
  • Reduce total waste by 75% from their 2011 baseline
  • Recycle 100% of their office and electronic waste by 2020


  • HSBC provided $52.4 bn to sustainable financing and investment
  • In 2019, HSBC trained over 800 employees on climate risk to strengthen engagement with customers 
  • In 2019 HSBC signed 29.4% renewable electricity from power purchase agreements in various countries
  • By the end of 2019, HSBC reduced carbon emissions to 2.26 tonnes per full-time equivalent employee.
  • Since 2011, their carbon emissions have fallen by 35% per full-time equivalent employee, to a total of 530,000 tonnes by 2019
  • At the end of  2019, HSBC has reduced total waste by 66%
  • In 2019, HSBC recycled 62% of office waste



UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance


  • HSBC supports investments such as the construction of public schools, vocational training and education activities that promote the inclusion of women and minorities in education.


  • HSBC has highlighted sustainable water and wastewater management as an eligible category. Projects may include water treatment, supply and distribution as well as improving sanitation and hygiene infrastructure.
  • HSBC and WaterAid launched an initiative in 2017 to improve water and hygiene service facilities within the communities their workers live


  • HSBC strengthened its energy policy in 2018 so that they will not finance any new coal-fired power plants, with the targeted and time-limited exceptions of Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam to appropriately balance local humanitarian needs with the need to transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Committed to procuring 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030
  • HSBC acted as a mandated lead arranger in the refinancing of the £2.5bn Beatrice offshore wind farm off the north-east coast of Scotland


  • IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and HSBC Global Asset Management created the first global green bond fund targeting “real economy” issuers in emerging markets, increasing access to climate finance and promoting the further development of green bond markets. The Real Economy Green Investment Opportunity (REGIO) Fund is expected to catalyse at least $500 million to $700 million in multilateral and private sector capital to support well-diversified climate-smart investments in developing countries around the world—largely through green bonds issued by non-financial, or real sector, companies.

SDG 13

  • HSBC invests in funds that are defined as socially responsible investments (SRI). These funds primarily avoid investing in companies that can have a negative impact on society. Some of the SRI funds are investing in companies that aim to reduce the detrimental impacts that climate change can create, while others have defined transition strategies.
  • Since 2011, HBSC carbon emissions have fallen by 35% per full-time equivalent employee to a total of 530,000 tonnes by 2019
  • HSBC supported projects in 45 countries and territories, which have included renewable energy, green buildings and electric vehicles

Secondary SDGs: 3, 8, 11, 12


HSBC is listed in some indices, and was given many awards in the banking sector, but doesn’t have any certificates. In HSBC’s Sustainability Reports are no key performance indicators, which would show the company’s sustainable progress.

HSBC comply with some of UN SDGs and provides finance to a lot of sustainable projects – most of the HSBC’s sustainable activities are done through financing.

HSBC has also financed extreme fossil fuels with $86.528 billion since the Paris Agreement was adopted (2016–2019). Hence, HSBC received a C rating on Impakter Index. 

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

HSBC own sustainable initiatives are mostly concerned with renewable energy and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. These activities are in contrary to financing fossil fuels.

HSBC is financing sustainable projects but as a leader in the banking sector could set a better example of a sustainable company.

Key Points

  • HSBC continued financing of the fossil fuel industry
  • HSBC is increasing sustainable financing – provided $52.4 bn to sustainable financing and investment
  • Board member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil since its inception in 2004
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