30,000 HSBC customers call on their bank to stop funding deforestation.

Publication date: 13th February 2017

Monday 13th February, 2017, London – HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, is facing a consumer backlash from their customers over their ongoing financing of palm oil companies destroying Indonesia’s rainforest.

Three weeks ago[1] Greenpeace exposed how, despite having policies which they claim ‘prohibit the funding of deforestation’, HSBC have been financing some of the most destructive palm oil producers in Indonesia, responsible for destroying scarce orangutan habitat, labour abuses, and increasing fire risk through rainforest clearance and illegal drainage.

Since then, 120,000 people in the UK have signed our petition calling on HSBC to stop financing deforestation, including 30,000 HSBC customers.

Due to the unusually long-term, stable relationship between banks and their customers, Greenpeace decided to ask petition signatories whether they were HSBC customers or not, and 25% of the UK signatories have affirmed that they are.[2]

Greenpeace also commissioned YouGov to poll UK adults on their attitudes to controversial lending practices by banks. 75% of those with their main bank account with HSBC said they would be concerned if their bank was ‘financially supporting companies who cut down trees in rainforest to assist palm oil production’, and 50% with their main bank account with HSBC said they would consider moving their account. For the full polling data please see here [3]

Jamie Woolley, Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said :

“When we launched this campaign, we were worried that people might be uncomfortable with getting involved if it was their bank lending money to companies that destroy rainforests. But it turns out that the opposite is true. People are particularly motivated when it’s their own bank doing the wrong thing. They want to get stuck in, and thousands of customers have sent a clear message to HSBC that they need to clean up their act. Judging by the first two weeks, HSBC are going to be under a lot of pressure from their customers to take deforestation seriously and sort this problem out quickly.”

In addition to the petition, Greenpeace activists have visited over 60 branches of HSBC across the UK to speak to their customers about the bank’s ongoing funding of deforestation.



Greenpeace UK Press Office – 020 7865 8255 or press.uk@greenpeace.org


1] Campaign launch PR (with links to report etc.) – http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/2017/indonesias-deforestation-crisis/

2] greenpeace.org.uk/hsbc

3] https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/e5qaqdm059/YGArchive-130217-Greenpeace.pdf  All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2066 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between  9th – 10th February 2017.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

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