HSBC has suspended a senior executive over comments about climate change. Stuart Kirk, a leader in the banks responsible investment team, claimed “there is always some nut-job telling me about the end of the world”. HSBC has refused to confirm that the suspension took place, however as his role is to analyse the impact of investments on environmental, social and governance issues it is obviously not compatible with someone who is openly a climate change sceptic (as his comments would suggest).
During his presentation he stated “Climate change is not a financial risk that we need to worry about”, and a slide on a presentation used during the speech stated “Unsubstantiated, shrill, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are ALWAYS wrong”. Later he stated “Who cares if Miami is six metres underwater in 100 years? Amsterdam has been six metres underwater for ages and that’s a really nice place.”
This is likely to be hugely damaging to HSBC, in recent years it has been shown that UK banks have an outsized impact on the worlds fight against global warming, and it is not to help that fight.
I for one, hope that on this occasion HSBC is forced to truly change their behaviour, many banks could have huge positive impacts on the global warming fight if they only started to engage.
They should be called out, until they become a part of the solution rather than the problem.