Our Focus

Our Centre of Sustainable Finance has been created to provide sustainability-related thought leadership and innovation within HSBC and across the financial sector. This will help unlock the capital flows needed to address some of the world's major sustainability challenges.

Around 2,500 cities have committed to climate action. Linking these on the ground initiatives to specialised financial expertise will enable a quicker and cheaper low-carbon shift. Financial centres are forming initiatives to establish and promote best practise financing principles, such as green standards and definitions, capital market incentive structures and risk adjustment factors. These ideas help to bring transparency to green financing, and are an important feature for successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.


The Paris Agreement of 2015 was a milestone moment in the fight to keep temperature rises below 2°C. The aims are clear. They are to peak and reduce global Greenhouse Gas emissions so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks in the second half of the century. This net-zero emission goal will be monitored by regular carbon budget assessments and science will provide updates on the best pathways to achieve these goals.


One way to scale up capital for low-carbon transition is for companies to provide more transparency on the climate risk profile of assets. In 2017, the Financial Stability Board task force on climate related financial disclosure (TCFD) published recommendations for corporates to disclose more on climate risks. This will allow investors to make better assessments of how well institutions are helping to deliver a low-carbon future and managing future challenges.


Achieving the 2°C temperature goal means avoiding investing in a way that avoids locking the world into a high emissions pathway. Energy and transport networks have long life cycles with a high potential for carbon lock-in. We need to scale up infrastructure to address growth needs whilst taking Environmental, Social and Governance factors into account. The Sustainable Development Goals provide a useful guiding framework, but more work needs to be done to overcome obstacles.



So far much capital related to addressing sustainability goals has come multilateral development bank sources. But these entities, and other public sector capital flows alone are not sufficient to make the shifts required.