Source: Wikimedia Commons


HSBC is one of the largest banking organisations in the world, and is the largest in London. Their Retail Banking and Wealth Management division operates on behalf of nearly 37 million customers worldwide. It is one of the ‘big four banks’ in the United Kingdom.

HSBC London – Håkan Dahlström Photography

Official Policies

HSBC has recently ruled out project financing for tar sands projects and related pipelines, and no longer provides project financing for thermal coal mines. They have pledged $100bn by 2025 to ‘develop clean energy, lower-carbon technologies, and projects that contribute to the delivery of the Paris Climate agreement and the UN SDGs‘. HSBC claim they are helping manage the ‘transition path’ for other high energy sectors.

Key Projects

Despite recent commitments, HSBC still actively provides project financing for a wide range of environmentally damaging projects (see HSBC ‘dodgy deals’). These include oil pipelines such as:

  • Oil pipelines distributing tar sand oil on the Atlantic Coast, Canada
  • Financing Enbridge, a company involved in the Line 3 Replacement in the US

See our explanation here on why oil pipelines are particularly damaging. HSBC is also financially linked to a number of problematic mining projects, including the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia, which has led to the total destruction of local villages for international profit. They also currently lend to several coal companies worldwide, in addition to the Cerrejón project. 

Email the CEO!

Dear Mr Flint,

I have been a HSBC customer for …. years now. [If you want you can include specific services such as current account, savings, mortgage that you currently have with them .]

Whilst I recognise your recent announcements to end financing to tar sands and thermal coal projects are steps in the direction, I am switching banks because of your continued investment in environmentally destructive projects. These include your involvement in oil pipeline expansion in the US and the highly damaging Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia. These kinds of projects are unacceptable as we aim to transition to a low carbon economy.

I would be delighted to return once you align your lending practices with the Paris Agreement target.

[You can also mention any other lending or projects that you don’t agree with.]

Yours Sincerely,

[Your Name]

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