HSBC Holdings Plc promised to “phase down” its financing of the fossil fuel industry, sending a warning to oil and gas clients as the bank works toward its target of net-zero emissions.
The step is in line with “what is required to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” HSBC said on Wednesday.
Like most of its top-tier banking peers, HSBC is looking for ways to cut emissions without losing business. For now, it remains one of the major funders of big oil and gas. HSBC helped fossil-fuel companies raise about $52 billion from selling bonds since the Paris climate agreement was announced at the end of 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Among European banks, only Barclays assisted in underwriting more debt for the oil, gas and coal industries.
HSBC said it will continue to work with energy sector clients “who take an active role in the energy transition and who apply good industry practices around environmental, social, and governance issues.”
The bank has promised to publish a group-wide climate transition plan next year. That will include a comprehensive overview of its climate-related work, and will also show how HSBC plans to embed science-based emissions targets into its processes, policies and governance.