Financial sector told to rise to the challenge of climate fight

A $100 million finance initiative to support companies fighting climate change has been launched with a call for financial firms to join the programme.

The Climate Solutions Partnership has been launched by HSBC, in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF, “to unlock barriers to finance for companies and projects that tackle climate change”. The partnership’s three workstreams focus on start-up firms developing carbon-cutting technologies, projects that protect and restore biodiversity, and initiatives to help transition energy growth to renewables in Asia.

“The partnership aims to bring emerging climate solutions to commercial viability and scale,” said HSBC in a statement. “It will do this by supporting sustainable projects that would otherwise face barriers to finance due to insufficient policy and regulatory frameworks, gaps between demand and supply, or a lack of mature measurement tools and business cases. By focusing on on-the-ground projects, it will help to catalyse systemic solutions to address climate change, while also delivering for people and nature in key markets.”

Tanya Steele, Chief Executive of WWF-UK said: “With our climate in crisis, the financial sector must urgently rise to the challenge and drive the transition to a net-zero economy. Major players like HSBC have a crucial role to play in leading the sector to become part of the solution to our planet’s recovery and building a greener, fairer economy.

“As HSBC moves to align its lending and investments to a sustainable world, we will accelerate progress through this partnership by scaling up clean, renewable technologies and nature-based solutions – some of the key building blocks to a net-zero future.”

The global initiative is backed by US$100 million of philanthropic funding over five years from HSBC to support the projects. It forms part of HSBC’s climate strategy, first announced in October 2020. The banking group aims to align its provision of finance to net zero by 2050 or sooner, in line with the Paris Agreement goals, and expects to provide between $750 billion and $1 trillion of finance and investment by 2030 to support its customers in the net zero transition. The bank has also pledged to work across the financial sector and beyond to accelerate solutions that will help avoid catastrophic climate change.

“Recognising the urgency of the climate challenge, the Climate Solutions Partnership aims to accelerate change in the short term, to help realise the Paris Agreement goals in the longer term,” it added. “By bringing new solutions to commercial viability and scale, it aims to increase the rate of progress towards a 1.5 degree pathway to net zero. “

Noel Quinn, HSBC Group Chief Executive said: “The transition to net-zero must be driven by cutting edge science and innovation – and also collaboration. Finding the best solutions for clean energy, clean transport and environmental protection is vital, as is making them commercially viable. Our Climate Solutions Partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF will make a tangible contribution towards those goals, combining our knowledge and resources to accelerate the pace of change towards a more sustainable future.”

“Financial institutions have the reach and resources to advance climate solutions and policies to put the world on a more inclusive and sustainable trajectory,” Manish Bapna, Interim President and CEO, WRI said. “HSBC, with its high-profile and global presence, can set an example by shifting its portfolio toward net zero and nature positive investments. We are deeply pleased to be joining HSBC and WWF in this dynamic new partnership that will leverage each organization’s unique attributes. We can go further together than we can alone.”