HSBC Updates Palm Oil Policy

As published by Chain Reaction Research, Europe’s largest bank HSBC – with $165 billion market capitalization – announced that it is expanding its prohibited businesses commitment in the palm oil sector. It is making its commitment consistent with No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policies adopted by market leaders. The policy applies to refiners, traders, growers and mills. HSBC has stated it will not agree to any new financing that violates their NDPE policy.

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The new policy will require HSBC customers to:

  • Commit to protecting natural forest and peat by June 30, 2017.
  • Identify and protect forests and peat in new plantations prior to commencing new development.
  • Provide independent verification of their NDPE commitments by December 31, 2018.

HSBC also announced that it will join the Banking Environment Initiative and the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA), which is hosted by the World Economic Forum. HSBC’s Group Chief Executive will initially lead HSBC’s presence in TFA.

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Greenpeace recently led a campaign engaging HSBC on its palm oil lending practices. Greenpeace stated that since 2012, HSBC has been involved in $16,341,898,120 in loans and $1,996,087,395 corporate bonds financing Bumitama, Goodhope, IOI Corporation, Noble Group, POSCO Daewoo and the Salim group / Indofood Agri Resources deforestation-linked activities. 30,000 HSBC customers also complained about these practices.