HSBC: Be a no-coal bank!
23 May 2014
Judging by the scarcity of journalists at the AGM of ‘local bank’ HSBC this morning, the bank seems to be doing slightly better in the public image stakes than some of its competitors. Yet HSBC pours more money into fossil fuels than any other UK bank.
The World Development Movement is calling on HSBC to pull its money out of coal mining – an industry that has received £2.1 billion from the bank since 2005. We made sure the bank’s shareholders at the AGM noticed our anti-coal protest, with a coal-gobbling banker entertaining them as they entered the meeting in the Barbican Centre.
In case they missed our antics outside, the board and shareholders were treated to the sight of a bright yellow 'HSBC out of coal' banner being unfurled - before the two protestors responsible were swiftly ejected from the building.
Coal releases more greenhouse gases per tonne than any other fossil fuel, and it’s also the most deadly for the people unlucky enough to live where coal is mined.
The companies behind the massive Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia are among the many receiving finance from HSBC.
"We suffer from the coal dust 24 hours a day. It’s like a black smoke that’s there all the time," says Yasmin Romero Epiayu, whose people, the indigenous Wayúu, have seen the Cerrejón mine destroy their homeland.
HSBC knows the many dangers, social, environmental and financial, of investing in coal. Will it put its money where its mouth is, and become a no-coal bank?