HSBC has committed to publishing this year a policy to phase out the financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2030 in markets in OECD countries, and by 2040 elsewhere.
The special resolution will be put to a vote at the lender’s annual general meeting on 28 May and follows “months of negotiations” between HSBC and a coalition of investors that included Brunel Pensions Partnership and was led by ShareAction.
Investors, representing $2.4 trillion in assets, agreed to withdraw a shareholder resolution filed in December, in exchange for the board-backed resolution announced today.
If the resolution is passed it would mandate the lender to set, disclose and implement a strategy with short- and medium-term targets to align its provision of finance across all sectors, starting with oil and gas and power and utilities, with the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement.
Jeanne Martin, Senior Campaign Manager at ShareAction, said: “Our focus now turns to ensuring it delivers on these commitments. HSBC must ensure that its coal phase-out policy, to be published before the end of the year, includes a clear commitment to stop financing coal developers and top coal companies, and to ask its clients to publish their own coal phase-out plans by 2023 at the latest.”
The resolution would commit it to publishing 2025 and 2030 targets for its oil and gas and power & utilities portfolios by the end of 2021 and use 1.5°C pathways that are not overly reliant on negative emissions technologies to do so.
Brunel stewardship manager, Helen Price, said the investment pool encouraged shareholders to support the resolution so that the votes reached 75%, the threshold needed to make it binding.
“Whilst we have withdrawn the shareholder resolution this year, we may take further action next year if we are unsatisfied with the bank’s progress. Ongoing engagement is key,” she said.