November 28, 2018

HSBC CEO Slammed For Coal Double-Standard at Climate Finance Summit

Activists hijack twitter feed and confront HSBC over discriminatory coal policy

PARIS – 28 Nov – Activists continued their campaign against HSBC’s CEO John Flint and his bank’s double standard when it comes to coal finance.

As HSBC attempted to paint itself in a green-light (as a sponsor of the UN’s premiere Climate Finance Summit), activists ambushed the entrance of the conference venue and took to twitter to draw attention to its policy that allows for Europe’s biggest bank to continue funding coal-burning power stations in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.

Irfan Toni Herlambang, a campaigner for climate solutions with 350.org in Indonesia said:

“At fancy summits in Europe HSBC claims to care about the climate whilst here in Indonesia they fund burning coal.”

“Coal burning power plants stink up the air and accelerate climate change – having one standard in the rest of the world and another in Indonesia has a real stench to it.”

The activism comes on the back of community groups from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh releasing an online campaign to ask why Europe’s largest bank has ruled out finance for new coal burning power stations everywhere except in their countries.

Hong Hoang, Executive Director of CHANGE  Vietnam said:

“If they commit to the Paris goals when they are in France then HSBC can commit to the Paris goals when they are in Indonesia, Vietnam, or Bangladesh.”

“HSBC should turn the tap off for coal and fossil fuel projects. Hanoi’s air pollution is already choking us and we have seen storm-surges and floods exacerbated by climate change. HSBC needs to stop dumping this problem in Vietnam and start taking responsibility for the harm its policy is causing.”

The HSBC policy runs counter to recent scientific reports from the IPCC (the UN’s climate science panel) and the International Energy Agency, which indicate that no new fossil fuel stations should be built anywhere.

Activists highlighted that the double-standard ignores that all three countries are on the front line of climate breakdown such as increasingly severe floods and storm-surges; and actually offer significant renewable energy potential – a crucial tool to ensuring energy access.

Debasish Sarker, an activist with NCBD ((National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas Mineral, Resources Power and Ports) in Bangladesh said:

“People in rural areas need distributed and renewable energy solutions. These polluting and out-dated coal burning stations are not in our interests.”

Laurent Ouvrard, a volunteer with Paris Zéro Fossile who was at the entrance of the Finance Summit said:

“I did this because seeing HSBC and its CEO pretend to care about climate change here in Europe but to still pump millions of dollars into dangerous and polluting fossil fuels in other countries is just disgusting.”

Groups across the world will continue to push John Flint and HSBC to revise their policies to bring them into line with the Paris Climate Agreement by ruling out all finance to new fossil fuel projects.

Yossi Cadan, the Global Divestment Senior Campaigner at 350.org said:

“HSBC’s competitors, RBS and Standard Chartered, have already ruled out funding for coal burning power stations globally so if John Flint really wants to clean up HSBC’s image then there’s an obvious place to start.”

Debasish Sarker, an activist with NCBD ((National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas Mineral, Resources Power and Ports) in Bangladesh said:

“We have plenty of local plans for renewable energy but what we don’t have is the finance. HSBC should commit to those instead of to energy sources that will only make climate breakdown and the risk of flooding worse.”

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Media Contact: Alex Rafalowicz, +57 318 343 9283, alex.raf@350.org

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