HSBC [HSBC:US] has launched a Global Biodiversity Discretionary Strategy for its Global Private Banking (GPB) services in Asia, as reported by The Asset on May 4. Managed by Lombard Odier, a founding member of the Natural Capital Investment Alliance, the strategy marks the bank’s first discretionary mandate with a biodiversity focus. For this offering, HSBC hopes to target quality, mid-sized firms and ultra- and high-net-worth professional investor clients. The strategy will first be available to professional investors in Hong Kong, then extended to accredited investors in Singapore later this year. Under the biodiversity portfolio, investors will get exposure across eight related themes, namely biomaterials, water solutions, sustainable food systems, innovative urbanization, sharing, repair & eco-design, distribution systems, performance materials, and waste & recycling.
The HSBC Group has set a goal of providing and facilitating up to USD1tr of sustainable finance and investments over the next 10 years. The group also aims for net-zero emissions in its operations and supply chains before 2030. Additionally, HSBC has signed on as a founding signatory to the Net Zero Banking Alliance in April 2021. However, despite many recent sustainability-driven initiatives, the bank has come under scrutiny for greenwashing by UK advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA is investigating accusations against HSBC for withholding significant information about its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in its advertising campaigns to mislead the public. If found guilty, an official warning may be issued for HSBC and making it the first major bank to be called out for incomplete environmental claims.