HSBC shareholders have voted nearly unanimously to end coal financing by 2040, and to align all the bank’s lending with the climate goals in the Paris Agreement.
The vote to drop coal and embrace Paris represents a strong gallop toward climate action, reports Nikkei Asia. “The resolution, supported by over 99% of votes at an annual shareholders meeting…was spearheaded by a coalition of investors managing US$2.4 trillion in assets led by UK-based non-profit ShareAction.” A 75% majority was all that was needed to make the resolution binding.
Data from the Rainforest Action Network shows that HSBC is in for a major change in lending practices. Since 2016, Nikkei Asia writes, the bank “has provided US$110 billion in total to the fossil fuel sector,” making it one of the world’s top fossil lenders. Now, the bank is committed to phasing out corporate financing for both “coal-fired power and thermal coal mining in the European Union and OECD countries by 2030, and by 2040 elsewhere.”
HSBC has also pledged to “set short- and medium-term targets to align its lending and underwriting with the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement”. Oil and gas, along with power and utilities, will be the first sectors to feel the pinch.