More than 200,000 people signed a Greenpeace petition putting pressure on HSBC over its links to harmful palm oil corporations
HSBC has launched a new zero-deforestation policy after a Greenpeace investigation found a link between the banking corporation and organisations destroying Indonesia’s forests and peatland.
The new policy requires its customers to commit to protecting natural forest and peat by 30 June 2017 by publishing their own forest protection policies. It also says the bank will no longer provide funding to companies involved in any kind of deforestation or peatland clearance, breaking its links with destructive palm oil corporations.
More than 200,000 people around the world signed a petition to put pressure on HSBC thanks to a Greenpeace campaign that also encouraged people to send emails directly to the bank’s CEO and protest outside high street branches.
The campaign intensified after Greenpeace’s international report last month, which alleged that HSBC had formed part of a funding syndicate that offered $16.3bn in loans to six palm oil companies that were linked to the destruction of large areas of rainforest and peatland in Indonesia.
A statement by the company said: “HSBC does not and will not knowingly provide financial services which directly support palm oil companies which do not comply with our policy. We will always investigate credible evidence that companies may not comply with our policies, but we are not aware of any current instances where customers are alleged to be operating outside our policy and where we have not taken, or are not taking, appropriate action.”
The bank also revealed that it has joined the Tropical Rainforest Alliance, hosted by the World Economic Forum, and will seek to become a member of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s Banking Environment Initiative.
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