Decisive decade ahead for climate finance

22 December 2020

HSBC has played a leading role in providing sustainable finance in the five years since the Paris Agreement, helping clients switch to greener business practices.

But bigger changes are coming as the transition to a low-carbon global economy reshapes economies further, according to HSBC Group Chief Executive Noel Quinn.

Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum last month, he said: “I do anticipate significant change over the next 10 to 20 years because of the environmental agenda, and I see it as an opportunity in all facets of our business.”

The bank’s recently unveiled, ground-breaking climate strategy includes an ambition to provide between USD750 billion and USD1 trillion in sustainable financing and investment by 2030.

This includes support for high-emitting clients in sectors such as chemicals and aviation to make long-term, complex changes needed to decarbonise over time. Assisting these companies is a crucial part of the global response to climate change, according to Mr Quinn.

He added: “The most effective way to help the global economy to reach net zero is by supporting heavy-emitting sectors to transition away from old technologies to new solutions.

“The whole financial sector needs to partner with those industries to help them find a pathway to a low-carbon future, and to protect and create many thousands of jobs in the process.”

HSBC recently backed two pioneering bond issuances for clients in high-emitting sectors. The world’s first transition sukuk is set to help a major airline cut carbon from its fleet of aircraft. The first sustainability-linked bond in the building material sector incorporates a cement producer’s commitment to reducing the carbon intensity of its products by 2030.

Find out more on why transition finance is essential – and check out some of HSBC’s sustainable finance highlights from the past five years below.

Our climate milestones


  • HSBC France issues the Group’s first green bond, raising EUR500 million for projects including renewable energy, green buildings and sustainable waste management


  • Poland issues the world’s first sovereign green bond with our help, raising EUR750 million for projects with environmental benefits
  • We join the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to help to develop voluntary guidelines that encourage companies to publish information on climate-related risks they face


  • We pledge to provide and facilitate USD100 billion in sustainable financing and investments by 2025
  • We issue the world’s first corporate sustainable development bond, raising USD1 billion for projects that contribute towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • We join the RE100 group of companies committed to sourcing 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources – a target we aim to hit by 2030


  • HSBC Amanah Malaysia facilitates the world’s first SDG sukuk, a bond backing projects with environmental, economic and social benefits while complying with Islamic finance principles
  • We issue the first green loans in Hong Kong, the UK and Singapore, helping property developers build to high environmental standards


  • Euromoney names HSBC “World’s Best Bank for Sustainable Finance”
  • We exceed the halfway mark in our target to provide USD100 billion in sustainable financing and investment by 2025, facilitating USD52.4 billion by the end of the year
  • Group Chief Executive Noel Quinn calls for concerted action across our industry to tackle climate change, welcoming the first report from the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative, of which HSBC is a founder member


  • We publish our ground-breaking climate strategy, including an aim to reduce financed emissions from our portfolio of customers to net zero by 2050 or sooner
  • Sustainable finance deals we support include: The world’s first bonds to tackle plastic wasteEgypt’s first sovereign green bondThe world’s first transition sukuk, helping a major airline cut carbon emissions