HSBC are part of the net zero banking alliance (NZBA) – a group of banks committing to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But they’re showing their true colours. A new investigations is finding proof that HSBC tried to get the NZBA to scrap science-based targets in favour of weaker, less effective targets. And it’s coming from the top – the emails asking for the targets to be watered down came from the office of the CEO of HSBC Noel Quinn.

So far the NZBA are ignoring HSBC’s lobbying requests.

HSBC is one of Europe’s biggest funders of fossil fuels. It’s poured $23.5 billion into fossil fuels in the last year, and it’s helping Qatar Petroleum raise $12.5 billion for expanding the world’s largest gasfield. These aren’t the actions of a bank committed to solving the climate crisis. These are the actions of a group that want to continue funding climate breakdown – while raking in short term profits.

Andrew Harper, head of ethics at Epworth Investment Management, said if a bank had been involved with this kind of lobbying “it would raise serious questions” about its commitment to “science, the planet, and its people — especially the poor”

Earlier this year, HSBC faced a shareholder backlash for not doing enough to limit climate breakdown. Their CEO and board were held to account for their empty words. These new revelations add further proof to HSBC’s all-talk commitments to changing how they operate.