Greenpeace finds loophole in HSBC Green

Environmental charity Greenpeace has made claims that HSBC’s investment arm is sidestepping the bank’s environmental guidelines by holding shares in a company accused of destroying Indonesian forests and peatland.

The Greenpeace campaign points to the bank’s Global Investment Funds 2009 annual report as evidence that its Global Climate Change Fund is investing heavily in Golden Agri-Resources Ltd, the palm oil arm of Sinar Mas.

HSBC claims the bank “will not finance plantations converted from natural forest since June 2004”, but the rules currently do not apply to its investment funds.

Francis Sullivan, the bank’s adviser on the environment, told Guardian Sustainable Business: “I can confirm that neither Sinar Mas nor any of its subsidiaries are clients of HSBC, which would be consistent with the forest policy that we do have.” But he added that the policy was not extended to HSBC’s Global Investment Funds.