April 12, 2019

HSBC AGM disrupted by anti-war and anti-coal protests

The global bank’s AGM called on to address impact of lending policies including calls to close “coal double-standard” in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Birmingham, UK — Leading global bank HSBC had its Annual General Meeting (AGM) disrupted by protesters calling on the bank to change its policies with respect to finance for fossil fuel projects and weapon manufacturers.

The protesters gathered at the entrance of the meeting, holding banners and chanting.

Inside the venue, shareholders sharing the protests’ concerns used strategic questioning to prompt responses from the bank’s management on HSBC’s policies.

The protestors included several members of the Bangladeshi diaspora in the United Kingdom who spoke about their fears of increased climate impacts being driven by the bank’s policies on fossil fuels, particularly coal.

Akhter Khan Masroor, Member Secretary of the National Committee of Bangladesh (NCBD), UK who campaign for sustainable development in Bangladesh said:

“Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. As HSBC’s coal financing policy for Bangladesh will push it to more danger, we demand they do not invest in coal in Bangladesh and in the delta region. We do not need dirty coal energy.”

Yossi Cadan, 350.org’s Global Finance Campaigner said:

“HSBC has a complete double-standard on its coal finance policy. HSBC claims it’s pulling out of coal because it recognises that coal is a key driver of climate change yet it is open to financing coal projects in three countries that are extremely vulnerable to climate change – Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam. HSBC should use its AGM to stop this coal-finance double-standard and to end its finance of all fossil fuels everywhere.”

The campaign to close the coal double-standard has been running globally since last April when HSBC announced it would stop funding coal projects in all other countries.

“HSBC’s willingness to fund coal and other fossil fuels in 2019 is completely out of step with what climate science demands, and with what people on the ground who do need access to electricity are actually calling for.”

Banners at the entrance of the venue included: “No War, No Warming” and “Fossil Banks No Thanks”.

“We recognise HSBC’s climate policy is just one example of their unsustainable and unjust business model and so we’re proudly in solidarity with those here today who are demanding they end their funding of munitions companies and those connected with the illegal occupation of Palestine,” Cadan said.

Coming a week after NedBank officially became the first African bank to formally end all financing of coal, the pressure is on HSBC to catch up with others in the sector.


Contact: Kim Bryan, Global Communications Campaigner, [email protected], +44 777-088-1503 (on the ground in Birmingham)

For editors:

Photos and video of the action will be available here

More information on the campaign is available here