Following years of pressure, Europe’s largest bank says it will stop funding new oil and gas projects.
London-based HSBC’s new policy, announced on Wednesday, bars new lending or finance to projects “pertaining to new oil and gas fields and related infrastructure.”
However, HSBC says it will still offer corporate finance and advisory services to businesses in the energy sector, as long as those clients are aligned with the bank’s greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030 and have plans to decarbonize by 2050.
“We’re committed to supporting and financing the transition to a secure net zero future,” HSBC said in a press release.
Environmental advocates from a global coalition of nonprofits pushing banks to end fossil fuel financing hailed the announcement as a major victory. Many smaller banks like La Banque Postale in France have much more ambitious climate policies, but HSBC is one of the world’s first major banks to restrict fossil fuel financing in this way.
Rainforest Action Network hopes HSBC’s new protocol could “send a signal” worldwide -particularly to the four U.S. banks that are responsible for about a quarter of global fossil fuel financing.