HSBC to Stop Financing Oil and Gas Fields

UK-based bank HSBC has updated its oil and gas policy, which includes a commitment to no longer finance new oil and gas fields. The policy outlines HSBC’s approach to financing the full energy system, including coal, hydrogen, renewables and hydropower, nuclear, biomass and waste-to-energy sectors. HSBC has stressed that engagement on transition plans form a “vital part” of its approach, and it will continue to encourage and support clients in decarbonising and diversifying their energy supply, production and business models. Following “repeated engagement”, if a transition plan is not produced or that plan is not consistent with HSBC’s 2030 portfolio-level targets and 2050 net zero commitment, it will not provide new finance and may withdraw existing financing. This updated pledge follows a March 2022 shareholder resolution coordinated by responsible investment NGO ShareAction, which requested HSBC update its oil and gas policy. Jeanne Martin, ShareAction’s Head of the Banking Programme, said: “HSBC’s announcement sends a strong signal to fossil fuel giants and governments that banks’ appetite for financing new oil and gas fields is diminishing. It sets a new minimum level of ambition for all banks committed to net zero. We urge major banks like Barclays and BNP Paribas to follow suit.” 

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