Why are staff speaking out?

The science couldn’t be clearer, we simply cannot have any more NEW fossil fuel drilling to keep to a safe world. Yet, HSBC is the worst funder of new fossil fuel project companies in Europe, that’s billions of dollars a year to the companies accelerating the climate crisis.

And that’s not all. HSBC is facing penalties from the Advertising Standards Authority for greenwashing. HSBC is continuing to pretend that it can assist fossil fuel companies like Saudi Aramco “transition”, despite its CEO claiming that they ‘would pump the last barrel of oil’. And Stuart Kirk’s recent presentation (which had been signed off for months) sparked tonnes of press, a civil society letter, and backlash from staff and investors.

Staff from across HSBC are taking a confidential staff survey and sharing thoughts on HSBC’s commitments to climate. Here are a few of the comments from staff:

Comments from staff

“HSBC is engaging with climate, but our current policies are clearly not aligned with the science. We can’t keep giving money to new fossil fuel exploration. We all know that HSBC moves slow. But we must be faster and bolder. Too much is at stake”

$130bn to fossil fuel companies [since 2016] is a pretty stunning amount. I don’t think most of us know that. I don’t think I understood how involved HSBC is before reading that.”

This crisis has now evolved beyond ‘funding to transition’. HSBC needs to completely withdraw support for these companies. I’m concerned the bank can’t evidence how companies are using funds to ‘transition’.

“It gives me immense pleasure to know about the contribution that HSBC has done towards the society as a whole. And I know you can’t stop fossil fuel funding immediately. But there’s no defending the fact that we’re funding Saudi Aramco, or that we’re still funding expansion.”

“With Stuart Kirk, not only are his views out of step with the banks strategy, but he also should have known not to say the quiet part out loud. I don’t get how we can continue to spout green credentials to clients while continuing to support fossil fuels. It’s dishonest and our clients see through it.”

“Our investments are at complete odds with the messaging from the top of the business. We say we’re green, whilst having Saudi Aramco as a huge client. It just adds to the perception of HSBC being untrustworthy or just toxic.”

“The greenwashing is so clear. If HSBC disapproves of K’s [Kirk’s] comments, why are we financing more fossil fuels?”

“The real challenge for HSBC is not the ridiculously ill-judged comments of one colleague in a public forum. It’s the endemic funding of fossil fuel projects, whilst pretending we’re not. We can suspend one guy and say it’s his fault, but his comments are more accurate to what HSBC is really doing.

“The mistakes of the past cannot be simply undone. What the focus should be that the past mistake should not be repeated. Some days I believe the current leadership has the right intent and will to ensure fossil financing is put to a stop, but other actions make me doubt it.”

“Exploiting natural resources is inevitable. If HSBC take a step back, someone else will fund them. But that’s not a reason to keep doing it.

What do you make of the comments from staff? Take the confidential staff survey to have your say now: https://rp38jmcm937.typeform.com/hsbc-survey

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