ENVIRONMENT | Staff Reporter, Indonesia

Top shareholders demand HSBC to halt policy enabling coal finance in Asia

The bank continues to finance coal power projects in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Major HSBC shareholders, including Schroders, Hermes EOS, and Edentree, called on the bank to institute a global exclusion policy for coal power project finance as its current rules allow it to continue financing coal power projects in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Jack Bertolus, research coordinator at Market Forces, added, “HSBC continues to actively support pollution, from a controversial coal port in Bangladesh to coal-fired power stations in Vietnam. The bank must recognise that developing countries have as much as right as their developed counterparts to clean energy and clean air. HSBC should immediately rule out all funding to new coal, no matter the location.”

In a letter to HSBC CEO John Flint, the group has asked the bank to adopt a prohibition of project finance to new coal mines and coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world, including Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam; a prohibition of general corporate financing, underwriting and advisory services to companies that are highly dependent on coal mining or coal power; and a clear, timebound plan to phase out existing exposure to coal-related assets.

“Extensive research has shown that there is a clear path to renewables in Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh. Yet by financing coal power sector expansion in these three countries, HSBC is facilitating the lock-in of high-carbon infrastructure and avoidable emissions; and failing to support these countries in the transition to a low-carbon economy,” the letter added.

Roland Bosch, associate director at Hermes EOS, said, “Although HSBC has not financed any new coal-fired power plants since the release of its new energy policy, we want to see the bank evolve its policy to rule out all investment in coal and instead to focus on financing low-carbon energy across emerging markets.”

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