Shareholders back HSBC’s net zero commitments

28 May 2021

A special resolution on climate change was approved at our Annual General Meeting.

The resolution – proposed by the HSBC Board – provides further detail on our approach to the net zero transition, and how we will achieve the climate ambition we announced in October, which we believe sets a leading standard in our sector.

The resolution, supported by 99.71 per cent of shareholders who voted, commits HSBC to:

  • Set, disclose and implement a sustainability strategy that has at its core a commitment to support our customers on their transitions to net zero carbon emissions. This includes a sector and science-based approach to align our provision of finance to the Paris Agreement goals, with short- and medium-term targets
  • Publish and implement a policy to phase out the financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2030 in the European Union and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and by 2040 globally
  • Report annually on our progress, starting with our 2021 Annual Report and Accounts

Noel Quinn, Group Chief Executive, told the AGM: “Committing to net zero presents us with a strategic choice.

“We can choose simply to divest from clients with higher carbon emissions – but that alone is no guarantee that those emissions won’t continue with financial backing from elsewhere, and it will not allow for an orderly and inclusive transition either.

“Or we can choose to partner with our clients to help them decarbonise by financing their transitions to climate friendly operations and clean technologies. I passionately believe that we have a responsibility, as a leader, to drive comprehensive change if we can.”

Following these discussions, ShareAction and the group of shareholders withdrew their own special resolution on climate change in support of ours.

“I look forward to demonstrating how we are delivering on the commitments we’ve made,” Noel added.

“With COP26 under six months away, now more than ever, the world is looking to the financial sector to step up and play its part.”

We believe that achieving the transition to a net zero global economy is one of the most significant challenges, and greatest opportunities, of our time.

It is key to unlocking long-term sustainable growth, protecting the financial system from climate risk and safeguarding society more generally.

Our aim is to reduce emissions in our operations and supply chain to net zero by 2030, and to transition our provision of finance to align with the Paris Agreement goal of net zero by 2050 or sooner.

Visit the Annual General Meeting page for full voting results from the AGM.